Chordoma Foundation

New funding opportunity: Therapeutic Innovation Award

The Chordoma Foundation is pleased to announce an exciting new funding opportunity aimed at accelerating the development of drug therapies targeting brachyury, a transcription factor that plays a key role in chordoma and other cancers.

Chordoma Foundation and The Mark Foundation: Therapeutic Innovation Award

Issued in partnership with The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research – which funds high-impact science that integrates biology with technology to deliver innovative breakthroughs to patients – the Therapeutic Innovation Award will be offered in two phases. The first funding phase will support a one-year pilot study to assess feasibility of an approach and generate preliminary data. For this phase, applicants may request up to $150,000 over a 12-month funding period. Based on the results generated in the first funding phase, awardees may be invited to apply for a second phase of funding which will support a multi-year continuation of the project.

Therapeutic Innovation Award: Joint Request for Proposals »

Letters of Intent for the first phase, due Friday, April 6, will be accepted from investigators at academic institutions, nonprofit research organizations and for-profit companies, both within and outside of the chordoma research community.

“We are delighted to collaborate with the Chordoma Foundation as sponsor of this Therapeutic Innovation Award. Our hope is that findings from the supported project will dramatically accelerate innovation in chordoma research and provide broad applications to targets that drive other cancers.”
– Michele Cleary, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research


About the RFP

There is mounting evidence that the transcription factor brachyury is a key driver of chordoma. Expression of brachyury is also associated with disease progression, metastasis, and resistance to therapy in a variety of other cancers, including breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancers. Targeting brachyury could thus represent a promising therapeutic strategy not only for chordoma, but other tumor types as well.

As a transcription factor, brachyury is conventionally regarded as a challenging drug target; however, a convergence of new technologies and therapeutic approaches, coupled with enhanced understanding of transcriptional regulation, have created new opportunities to target transcription factors in cancer.

“This grants program is meant to capitalize on emerging technologies that can speed the discovery of therapies targeting brachyury. In addition to improving treatment options and outcomes for chordoma patients, our shared hope is that it will also inform the discovery of drugs targeting other transcription factors, enabling the development of new therapies that could benefit a variety of cancers.”
– Josh Sommer, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Chordoma Foundation

The goal of this funding opportunity is to support innovative research that will explore novel approaches for targeting brachyury and lay the foundation for drug discovery efforts directed at disrupting the transcriptional pathways that drive cancer.

Relevant areas of study include but are not limited to:

  • Interaction of brachyury with other proteins and/or small molecules
  • Direct degradation of brachyury
  • Functional implications of the chordoma-associated SNP in brachyury
  • Therapeutic manipulation of upstream regulators of brachyury, or downstream brachyury targets
  • Immunogenic properties of brachyury

In particular, we are interested in proposals that apply emerging technologies from other scientific domains to chordoma and involve meaningful collaborations between investigators with complementary capabilities.

Key dates

  • Letter of Intent (LOI) due: April 6, 2018
  • Full application due: June 1, 2018
  • Award notification: September 2018

RFP and application materials


If you have any questions, please contact our Director of Research, Joan Levy, at


The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research funds groundbreaking research integrating discoveries in biology with innovative technology to deliver breakthroughs to patients. Established in 2015, The Mark Foundation serves as a premier partner to cancer researchers through an exemplary non-profit business model that combines the funding of high-impact, transformative basic and translational cancer research with venture philanthropy. At the core of all we do, The Mark Foundation strives for better outcomes for cancer patients and their families. To learn more, please visit