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Last Updated: 11/07/22

Preclinical Therapeutics Grants Branch (PTGB)


The Grants and Contracts Operations Branch (GCOB) was renamed as the Preclinical Therapeutics Grants Branch (PTGB).

PTGB manages the biochemistry and pharmacology grants portfolio within DTP. PTGB grants support preclinical research related to therapeutic intervention, including chemistry, natural products, mechanisms of drug action, pharmacology, toxicology, and the co-development of drugs and biomarkers to support the new era of precision medicine with emphasis on the modulation of targets and pathways that drive tumors, consistent with the goal of accelerating the discovery, development, and evaluation of agents to treat cancer.

In particular, PTGB supports pre-clinical research that focuses on discovery, development and evaluation of agents to treat cancer with an emphasis on small molecules of either synthetic or natural product origin. Studies from drug design and screening up to but not including clinical trials are supported. Drug targets span tumor microenvironment components (not including immune cells), and intracellular signaling pathways or networks associated with molecular changes in cancer. Development studies encompass mechanism(s) of action of therapeutic agents, mechanisms of resistance, drug efficacy, drug pharmacology and drug toxicology. Studies may involve non-mammalian, biochemical, cell-based, or in vivo animal models, or human tissue specimens to verify preclinical observations.

PTGB resides in a unique situation in relation to the extramural grant community and the internal, non-grant drug discovery/development activities of the Developmental Therapeutics Program (DTP). Through management of a large grant and cooperative agreement portfolio, PTGB staff maintains extensive interactions with the external research community and can provide advice to foster the drug discovery mandate of the DTP. Such activities include assisting grantees to access the NCI drug and natural product repositories, inviting scientists to participate in a DTP seminar series, and arranging for compound testing and identification of molecular targets in the NCI60 cell line screen. Staff provides information to grantees and other investigators regarding availability of NCI resources for extramural scientists for development of their agents to clinical trial.

Funding Opportunities

Current FOAs Related To Drug Discovery Research:

For general inquiries and concerns on PTGB grant applications contact Sundar Venkatachalam at or the program staff listed below.

PTGB Staff

Name Title Email
Sundar Venkatachalam, Ph.D. Branch Chief
Joseph Agyin, Ph.D., M.B.A. Program Director
Weiwei Chen, Ph.D. Program Director
Suzanne L. Forry, Ph.D. Program Director
Yali Fu, Ph.D. Program Director
Sudhir B. Kondapaka, Ph. D. Program Director
Morgan O'Hayre, Ph.D. Program Director

PTGB Staff Profiles and Focus Areas

For more information about DTP preclinical therapeutic grants, please contact the PTGB staff listed above.

About the Branch Chief

Dr. Sundar Venkatachalam Dr. Sundar Venkatachalam serves as the chief of PTGB. Sundar earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Ohio State University, where he studied the molecular mechanisms of DNA damage and repair responses induced by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Baylor College of Medicine, he analyzed the role of the p53 haploinsufficiency in tumor susceptibility and aging using genetically engineered mouse models. More…