RE(ACT) Discovery Institute

The RE(ACT) Discovery Institute is an institute for therapeutics discovery in rare and orphan diseases. It aims to fill the gap between public-funded basic science research and commercially supported applied research and development, allowing the scientific community to move their research from the bench to the bedside.


The RD-INSTITUTE is an open innovation platform dedicated to further translational scientific research to address high unmet medical needs in rare and orphan diseases. It is located in the life sciences campus Biopôle in Epalinges near Lausanne, Switzerland.

The RD-INSTITUTE aims to fill the gap between the public-funded basic scientific research and the industry-supported applied R&D, allowing the Swiss and world scientific community working on a specific mechanism, target protein, or process involved in disease onset or progression to move their research from the bench to the bedside. Under the leadership of the BLACKSWAN Foundation,  the RD-INSTITUTE creates partnerships with national or international universities and institutes of technology, hospitals, research institutes, foundations, and patient associations interested in translational research and development.

The RD-INSTITUTE takes inspiration from existing organizations and drug research & development centers working with universities and industries – mainly start-ups – to provide the resources and expertise to develop new drugs/treatments to a point at which they can be licensed to industry. The critical differences between the vast majority of these organizations and the RD-INSTITUTE are its focus on drug development for rare diseases and its entirely not-for-profit.

To fulfill its goal of accelerating drug discovery and drug development for the treatment of rare diseases, the RD-INSTITUTE emphasizes drug efficiency and safety by focusing its activities on target validation, pre-clinical assessments, and clinical trials.  It will bring:

  • Robust R&D platform based on pharmaceutical industry standards,
  • Substantial therapeutic area expertise in rare diseases,
  • Key competencies with a proven track record in industrial therapeutic R&D,
  • A network of world-class specialists in the field of rare diseases,
  • Project funding.

The RD-INSTITUTE develops its activities on the basis of partnerships:

  1. The ideas/projects: Therapeutic targets or drug candidates mainly from academic and/or pharma partners
  2. Funds: Philanthropy, project-related investments, and royalties/licenses from accomplished projects.
  3. RD-INSTITUTE: “Rare Disease Proof-Of-Concept laboratory” and industrial expertise. Act as advisor to these research groups and, if needed, support outsourced projects for drug discovery that are not available in the academic communities.