Translation of drug candidates into clinical settings requires demonstration of preclinical efficacy and formal toxicology analysis for filling an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Here, we investigate the membrane-associated glucose response protein 78 (GRP78) as a therapeutic target in leukemia and lymphoma. We evaluated the efficacy of the GRP78-targeted proapoptotic drug bone metastasis targeting peptidomimetic 78 (BMTP-78), a member of the D(KLAKLAK)2-containing class of agents. BMTP-78 was validated in cells from patients with acute myeloid leukemia and in a panel of human leukemia and lymphoma cell lines, where it induced dose-dependent cytotoxicity in all samples tested. Based on the in vitro efficacy of BMTP-78, we performed formal good laboratory practice toxicology studies in both rodents (mice and rats) and nonhuman primates (cynomolgus and rhesus monkeys). These analyses represent required steps towards an IND application of BMTP-78 for theranostic first-in-human clinical trials.The Pharmacogenomics Journal advance online publication, 5 December 2017; doi:10.1038/tpj.2017.46.