Press releases

Friday March 27th, 2020
Das LDC überbrückt das Tal des Todes
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Das LDC überbrückt das Tal des Todes

Das 2008 gegründete Lead Discovery Center (LDC) schließt die Finanzierungslücke zwischen Grundlagenforschung und Medikamentenentwicklung.
Im Gespräch beschreibt Geschäftsführer Bert Klebl die enge Zusammenarbeit mit Wissenschaftlern und den Vorbildcharakter des LDC.

Thursday February 27th, 2020
LDC-associated company Quench Bio Closes USD 50M Series A Financing to Advance First-in-Class Medicines against Severe Inflammatory Diseases
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LDC-associated company Quench Bio Closes USD 50M Series A Financing to Advance First-in-Class Medicines against Severe Inflammatory Diseases

Dortmund and Munich, Germany, February 27, 2020 — The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), the Max Planck Society (MPG) and Max Planck Innovation (MI) announce that their associated company Quench Bio Inc., Cambridge, USA has raised USD 50 million in a Series A financing round. The financing was led by RA Capital Management (RA Capital) and included Abbvie Ventures as well as co-founders and seed investors Atlas Venture (Atlas) and Arix Bioscience plc (Arix).

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Quench Bio develops therapies targeting innate immune pathways to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The approach centres on a pore-forming protein called Gasdermin D that was identified as a potential new target during a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany, the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, Germany and the LDC.

In close collaboration, the partners generated a series of Gasdermin inhibitors that prevent the release of inflammatory cytokines, alarmins and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), thereby validating the protein as a key target at the core of multiple inflammatory cell death pathways, including pyroptosis and NETosis. The specific targeting of Gasdermin represents a novel mode of action for the treatment of numerous inflammatory diseases associated with NETosis, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). When Quench Bio was founded in 2018, it received an exclusive license to IP relating to the therapeutic use of Gasdermin by LDC and MI. The co-founders, besides LDC and MI, include Atlas, Arix and MPG Directors Prof. Arturo Zychlinsky and Prof. Herbert Waldmann, among others.

The company has brought together an experienced team of drug developers and scientists, led by Chief Executive Officer Samantha Truex, the former Chief Business Officer of Padlock Therapeutics, which was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in 2016.

“With such a strong team of entrepreneurs, scientists and investors, the company is in an excellent position to deliver on the promise of an exciting new therapeutic platform concept,” says Bert Klebl, one of the LDC’s managing directors. “The emergence of Quench exemplifies the power of our collaborative approach to drug discovery. Together, we have been able to translate the discovery of Gasdermin and its role in inflammatory cell death into a validated therapeutic strategy with game-changing potential in many inflammation-related indications.”

“The LDC has already demonstrated a track record of successful outlicensing deals to pharma companies. The foundation of Quench Bio represents a major step in the spin-off sector. This VC-backed form of commercialization of MPG/LDC projects allows exquisitely well-focused, comprehensive and fast development,” adds Dieter Link, licensing manager at Max Planck Innovation.

 “I’m delighted by the strong support from MPG, MI, LDC and our investors, which enables us to advance our scientific findings towards medical practice,” adds Prof. Arturo Zychlinsky, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology. “Targeting inflammatory cell death pathways is a unique approach and may provide new opportunities for patients who currently have very limited treatment options.”

“Gasdermins are among, if not the most innovative and truly novel targets for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. They offer multiple opportunities for a whole flight of drug discovery programs,” adds Prof. Herbert Waldmann, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology and Member of the Board of Directors of Quench Bio. “The Quench team is highly experienced in drug discovery and commands in-depth knowledge in the relevant disease areas, so that the company is ideally positioned for success.”

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About Quench Bio

Quench Bio is a biotechnology company leveraging new insights into Gasdermin biology and innate immunity to develop medicines for severe inflammatory diseases. Quench’s lead compounds target and inhibit the pore-forming protein Gasdermin D, a central player in both pyroptosis and NETosis pathways that mediates the release of inflammatory cytokines, alarmins, DNA and NETs. Quench Bio launched in January 2020 with USD 50 million from leading life science investors including Atlas Venture, Arix Bioscience, RA Capital and AbbVie Ventures.

To learn more, please visit www.quenchbio.com.

 

About LDC

The Lead Discovery Center was established in 2008 by the technology transfer organization Max Planck Innovation, as a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need. The Lead Discovery Center takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the Lead Discovery Center is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential.

The Lead Discovery Center sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Roche and Sotio as well as various investors leading translational drug discovery centers around the globe.

Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de

 

About Max Planck Innovation

Max Planck Innovation (MI) is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With an interdisciplinary, team MI advises and supports scientists at Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. MI offers industry unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, MI performs an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products that contribute to economic and social progress.

Further information at: www.max-planck-innovation.com

Wednesday February 5th, 2020
German–Chinese consortium to develop new drugs for the treatment of heart failure and cardiac hypertrophy
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German–Chinese consortium to develop new drugs for the treatment of heart failure and cardiac hypertrophy

February, 5th  2020, Dortmund – The development of a new drug for the treatment of heart failure and cardiac hypertrophy is a primary goal of “ChInValue – NRW–China Cooperations: GRK5 Inhibitors”. The project is being coordinated by the Lead Discovery Center (LDC) and conducted in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences (ISAS) and two Chinese partners: Shanghai Jemincare Pharmaceutical Co. and Makohs Biotech. The German–Chinese consortium will devote itself to the fight against cardiac insufficiency and hypertrophy until the end of 2022. The German partners are being funded by a grant of around EUR 1 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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Research will focus on GRK5, a protein kinase that has so far received little attention in drug development, despite being implicated in the development of heart failure or hypertrophic heart muscle in the vast majority of cases. The aim of the project is to develop low-molecular-weight substances that inhibit the pathological processes mediated by GRK5.

“Our ambitious goal is to develop a drug candidate that is ready to enter preclinical development by the end of this three-year project,” says LDC’s Managing Director and CSO, Dr Bert Klebl.

“We hope to develop an effective new therapy from which heart disease patients can profit in the near future,” explains the ISAS scientific director and head of the Biomedical Research Department, Prof. Kristina Lorenz, a pharmacologist specializing in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.  

Financial support is being provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of its funding programme “InterSPIN – internationalization of leading-edge clusters, forward-looking projects and comparable networks”. Within this context, BIO.NRW and BIO Clustermanagement NRW GmbH have conceived and realized the internationalization alliance „NRW-China Cooperations: A strategic perspective for innovative life science SME value chains”, of which this project in the fight against heart failure is a part.

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The author is responsible for the content of this publication.

Contacts

for the LDC

Public Relations LDC
T. +49 231 9742 7000
E. pr@lead-discovery.de

Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Otto-Hahn-Straße 15
44227 Dortmund

Germany

 

for ISAS

ISAS e.V.
T: +49 (0)2 31.13 92-1082
E. presse@isas.de

Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences (ISAS)
Bunsen-Kirchhoff-Straße 11
44139 Dortmund

Germany

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About the LDC

The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) was established in 2008 by the technology transfer organization Max Planck Innovation, as a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need.

The LDC takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the LDC is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential.

The LDC sustains a preferred partnership with the Max Planck Society and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Apeiron, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Daiichi Sankyo, Grünenthal, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Merck KGaA, Qurient and Sotio as well as various investors and leading translational drug discovery centres around the globe.

Further information: www.lead-discovery.de

About ISAS

ISAS (Leibniz-Institut für Analytische Wissenschaften – ISAS – e.V.) develops fast, accurate, and cost-effective analytical procedures for health research in order to improve capabilities for the prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of diseases. By combining expertise in chemistry, biology, physics, and computer science, we make measurable what cannot be measured yet. The institute was founded in Dortmund more than 60 years ago and has about 200 employees at two sites in Dortmund and one in Berlin Adlershof. Excellent interdisciplinary research, scientific qualification, and the transfer of our research findings to science, economy, and society are our key objectives to implement our mission.

Further information: www.isas.de

Thursday September 12th, 2019
Investment Plan for Europe – Successful launch of Tech Transfer Fund “KHAN-I”
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Investment Plan for Europe – Successful launch of Tech Transfer Fund “KHAN-I”

Khanu Management GmbH (Khanu), a drug discovery focused fund management team, announces the successful launch of KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I), based in Dortmund, Germany.
The European Investment Fund (EIF, Luxemburg), the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (Vienna, Austria) and the Max Planck Foundation (Munich, Germany) committed in a first closing an investment of a total volume of € 60 million into KHAN-I for a period of 5 plus 2 years in early-stage drug discovery projects. The Khanu fund management team will invest a minority amount.

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Dortmund, September 12, 2019 – Khanu Management GmbH (Khanu), a drug discovery focused fund management team, announces the successful launch of KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I), based in Dortmund, Germany.

The European Investment Fund (EIF, Luxemburg), the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (Vienna, Austria) and the Max Planck Foundation (Munich, Germany) committed in a first closing an investment of a total volume of € 60 million into KHAN-I for a period of 5 plus 2 years in early-stage drug discovery projects. The Khanu fund management team will invest a minority amount.
The EIF will provide up to € 30 million through “InnovFin Equity Facility for Early Stage” (IFE), an integral part of the European growth initiative. The investment is supported by the Juncker Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

Projects are sourced predominantly from academia in Germany and Austria, focussing on innovative therapeutic opportunities in indications with high unmet medical need. KHAN-I will invest into either innovative project ideas covered by collaboration agreements or into start-up vehicles. The Lead Discovery Center GmbH, Dortmund (LDC), a professional drug discovery and translational research incubator originally founded by Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH (MI) with a proven track record (www.lead-discovery.de) will provide its drug discovery services to incubate these novel project hypotheses, where applicable.
To facilitate professional translation in life sciences in Austria, KHAN-I has founded Vienna-based wings4innovation GmbH (w4i) for scouting and executing promising drug discovery projects on behalf of KHAN-I and Khanu. The Partnership is supported by aws with funds provided by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs and the Austrian Foundation for Research, Technology and Development (NFTE).
KHAN-I also signed a co-investment agreement with the Max Planck Gesellschaft e.V. (MPG), Germany´s largest basic research organisation, adding € 18 million of co-funding for drug discovery projects originating from the world class biomedical research of the Max Planck Institutes.
“With KHAN-I, we have realised a unique and powerful translational vehicle, combining successful players in the field”, summarizes Bert Klebl, one of the three managing directors of Khanu and managing director of LDC. “The line-up of the (co-) investors is both, acknowledgement of the professional and successful performance in the past decade, where we opened a new chapter in the book of German translational research with the inception of LDC by MPG and its collaborative drug discovery and development approach as well as confidence in the game-changing capabilities of this unique translational concept. With KHAN-I, Khanu, LDC and w4i, we want to get to the next level and multiply the commercial successes in early drug discovery in view of a true benefit for all patients out there.”
European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Today’s agreement adds to the Juncker Plan’s strong track record in supporting biomedical research and drug discovery projects. This kind of support for researchers and scientists to bring their ideas and innovations to market will help keep Europe at the forefront of innovation.”

EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert comments: “KHAN-I will be one of the pioneers to develop the tech transfer segment in the German and Austrian life sciences venture capital ecosystem. Without such funding, these innovations would not reach a maturity level high enough for attracting other investors or strategic acquirers. Our cooperation with KHAN-I and its investment approach is an excellent example for the achievement of EU policies to strengthen the discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals for the benefit of the people in Europe.”
„The life-science-industry plays an essential role within Austria’s economy. Due to the new fund, we create new jobs and support a stronger and successful life-science-sector. As a result, KHAN-I is an inevitable measure to strengthen the international competitiveness of Austria’s life-science-industry”, says Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl, Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs of the Republic of Austria.
“Based on the co-investment agreement between MPG and KHAN I we are able to continue our very fruitful drug discovery partnership with LDC established over more than a decade and hope to generate additional treatment options for patients and return potential for both MPG and KHAN I” adds Ulrich Mahr, Member of the General Management of Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer office of the MPG.
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Contact Khanu
Dr. Michael Hamacher, hamacher@khanu.de, tel. +49 231 9742 7000

Contact EIF
Christof Roche, c.roche@eib.org, tel.: +352 43 79 89013 / Mobile: +32 479 65 05 88
Website: www.eib.org/press – Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

About EIF
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. More information on EIF’s work under EFSI is available at www.eif.org.

About the Juncker Plan
The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called “Juncker Plan”, is one of the European Commission’s top priorities. It focuses on boosting investments to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan. It provides a first loss guarantee, allowing the EIB to invest in more, often riskier, projects. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise almost € 424 billion in investments and support around 967,000 SMEs across all 28 Member States.

About “InnovFin Equity”
InnovFin Equity – managed by EIF – is in integral part of the European growth initiative “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators”, a program launched by the European Commission and the EIB Group in the framework of Horizon 2020. Via InnovFin Equity, EIF provides equity investments and co-investments to or alongside funds focusing on companies in their pre-seed, seed, and start-up phases operating in innovative sectors covered by Horizon 2020, including life sciences, clean energy and high-tech. Under InnovFin Equity, EIF targets investments in around 45 funds, mobilising a total amount of € 4-5 billion to be invested in enterprises located or active in the EU and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries.
About aws
Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws) is the Austrian government promotional bank. aws offers Austrian companies financial assistance in the form of loans, guarantees, grants and equity as well as consultancy services from the start-up to expansion phase. Innovative SMEs wishing to apply for finance under the InnovFin programme can directly contact aws under the following website https://www.aws.at/en/
About Max-Planck-Förderstiftung
The Max-Planck Foundation is a private, independent and non-profit organisation with the sole purpose of providing funds for excellent, innovative and forward-looking research projects of the Max Planck Society. The   foundation was established in 2006 and the capital of the foundation is currently around € 500 million.
About Max-Planck-Innovation
Max-Planck-Innovation is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With our interdisciplinary team we advise and support scientists of the Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. We offer industry a unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, we perform an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products, which contribute to the economic and social progress.
About KHAN-I
KHAN-I is a limited partnership under German law with the European Investment Fund (EIF), Max Planck Foundation (MPF), Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (AWS), and KHAN I Vermögensverwaltung GmbH & Co. KG as non-managing limited partners and Khanu Management GmbH (KHANU) as general partner and fund manager. The purpose of KHAN-I is to invest in innovative drug discovery projects and spin-out companies, primarily originating from academic sources, at the discovery, pre-clinical and clinical development stage for human healthcare and, opportunistically, veterinary care as well as to commercialise the results and products of the investments and, thus, to participate, directly or indirectly, in future proceeds.

Friday April 12th, 2019
A PhD’s guide on how to organize a conference
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A PhD’s guide on how to organize a conference

Eleven Early Stage Researchers from eight different institutions including the LDC, all part of the EU DivIDE network, tell us about their experience organizing their first international conference – and what they learned on the way.

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Eleven Early Stage Researchers from eight different institutions including the LDC, all part of the EU DivIDE network, tell us about their experience organizing their first international conference – and what they learned on the way.

Wednesday April 10th, 2019
Bekämpfung resistenter Bakterien: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung fördert NRW Konsortium NanoComBac mit zwei Millionen Euro

Bekämpfung resistenter Bakterien: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung fördert NRW Konsortium NanoComBac mit zwei Millionen Euro

Die Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) ist Teil des neuen, geförderten NRW Konsortiums NanoComBac, das sich der Entwicklung neuer antibiotischer Therapiemöglichkeiten gegen resistente Bakterien widmet.

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10. April 2019, Dortmund – Die Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) ist Teil des neuen, geförderten NRW Konsortiums NanoComBac, das sich der Entwicklung neuer antibiotischer Therapiemöglichkeiten gegen resistente Bakterien widmet.

Die Verbreitung solcher resistenten Bakterien gefährdet die Wirksamkeit von bestehenden Antibiotika weltweit und stellt eine große Herausforderung für das deutsche Gesundheitssystem dar. An diesem Punkt setzt ein neues Forschungsprojekt an, das von  Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scherkenbeck der Universität Wuppertal koordiniert wird. Gemeinsam mit Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern der Ruhr-Universität Bochum und der LDC aus Dortmund arbeiten die Forscher an der Entwicklung neuartiger, resistenzbrechender Antibiotika. Das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung fördert das Vorhaben mit rund zwei Millionen Euro.

Im Rahmen des Projektes NanoComBac („Naturstoff-Gold Nanocarrier Konjugate, eine neuartige dual-mode Strategie zur Bekämpfung resistenter Bakterien“) soll ein duales Wirkkonzept etabliert werden, das antibakterielle Naturstoffe so kombiniert, dass sie die problematische Zellmembran resistenter Bakterien überwinden können. Die Naturstoffe verfügen über innovative Wirkmechanismen, die von derzeit verfügbaren Antibiotika bisher nicht adressiert werden.

Das Konsortium vereint mit den Arbeitsgebieten Computer- und Medizinalchemie (Prof. Dr. Scherkenbeck, Bergische Universität, LDC), Nanopartikel-Synthese (Prof. Dr. Metzler-Nolte, Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Biomolekulare-NMR (Prof. Dr. Stoll, Ruhr-Universität Bochum), biologische Testung (Prof. Dr. Bandow, Ruhr-Universität Bochum) und professionelle Wirkstoffentwicklung (LDC) eine interdisziplinäre Expertise, die derzeit in Deutschland einzigartig ist.

„Unser Projekt legt die Grundlage für die Entwicklung neuartiger, resistenzbrechender Antibiotika gegen bakterielle Infektionen einschließlich Tuberkulose mit reduziertem Risiko einer vorzeitigen Resistenzentwicklung“, fasst Projektleiter Prof. Scherkenbeck zusammen.

„Obwohl die Hürden für eine kommerziell erfolgreiche, innovative Antibiotika-Entwicklung immer noch hoch bleiben, halten wir diesen Ansatz für äußerst vielversprechend und wollen mithelfen, eine gesundheitspolitisch relevante Fragestellung zu lösen“, ergänzt Dr. Bert Klebl von der LDC.

Ziel des Projektes ist es, den Weg für eine präklinische Validierung und eine zukünftige klinische Entwicklung zu ebnen.

Tuesday April 2nd, 2019
LDC and Korean Drug Development Fund collaborate to mature innovative drug discovery projects in South Korea
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LDC and Korean Drug Development Fund collaborate to mature innovative drug discovery projects in South Korea

Seoul, South Korea. The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) and the Korean Drug Development Fund (KDDF) have entered into an agreement to facilitate the interaction between LDC and the prospering South Korean biotech scene.

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April 2, 2019 Dortmund, Germany – Seoul, South Korea. The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) and the Korean Drug Development Fund (KDDF) have entered into an agreement to facilitate the interaction between LDC and the prospering South Korean biotech scene. The aim of the collaboration is to facilitate the licensing of assets from LDC’s innovative R&D pipeline to South Korean biotechs, who will then advance the projects into the clinic. KDDF will assist LDC in identifying such entities and hopes to support the respective biotechs financially once a licence deal has been concluded. By attracting highly innovative assets, KDDF is substantially and sustainably stimulating the Korean drug discovery community, creating an investor-friendly climate.

The collaboration agreement between KDDF and LDC was signed during this year´s Global C&D partnering conference in Seoul in February.
“We are delighted to intensify our interaction with the biotech community in South Korea. The LDC has already closed three licensing deals with South Korean biotechs, so we are now building on these inroads into South Korea’s drug discovery ecosystem to the benefit of our partners. In collaboration with the KDDF, we hope to broaden our existing relationship and increase the number of innovative assets licensed to South Korean biotechs. The goal is to better advance LDC early drug discovery assets to the clinic,” commented Bert Klebl, CEO and CSO of the LDC.

About the KDDF
Established in September 2011, the Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF), a consortium of three health-related Korean Ministries – the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning; the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy; and the Ministry of Health and Welfare – is a government-initiated drug development program, which aims to transform Korea into a global leader for new drug development and to enhance national competitiveness in the global arena.
In the first phase of the project, KDDF focused on building its own business portfolio and process that is essential to global drug development. In consequence, this helped us establish a top-notch screening system for numerous research and development (R&D) projects, coupled with a successful milestone-based output management system. In the subsequent second phase of the project, KDDF further materialized its innovation-driven portfolio management strategy through a newly introduced joint R&D program with global Big Pharma, the actual developers who aspire to commercialize early stage assets, and continued to expand its support in the Research & Business Development (R&BD) field.

Friday March 29th, 2019
LDC Receives the City of Dortmund Business Award
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LDC Receives the City of Dortmund Business Award

The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) has won Dortmund’s Business Prize, awarded yearly by the Wirtschaftsförderung and the Sparkasse Dortmund. The distinguished jury selected the LDC for its innovative business concept and its outstanding achievements for the benefit of society. The company forms a vital link between academia and industry. In close collaboration with both partners, it helps transform great ideas into medicines that can change the lives of millions of people.

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March 29, 2019, Dortmund, Germany – The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) has won Dortmund’s Business Prize, awarded yearly by the Wirtschaftsförderung and the Sparkasse Dortmund. The distinguished jury selected the LDC for its innovative business concept and its outstanding achievements for the benefit of society. The company forms a vital link between academia and industry. In close collaboration with both partners, it helps transform great ideas into medicines that can change the lives of millions of people.

Since it was founded in Dortmund 11 years ago, the LDC has initiated 79 drug discovery projects, each one targeting a severe unmet medical need. The portfolio covers common conditions such as cancer and infections, as well as rare diseases frequently neglected by industry. 15 projects have progressed into co-development or licensing partnerships with industry.

“The award highlights the exceptional commitment of our team and our partners, both in academia and industry. Their expertise and energy has enabled us to get that many projects off the ground,” said Dr Bert Klebl, CEO of the LDC. “We are proud to be part of Dortmund’s innovation ecosystem and grateful for the collaborative spirit we have enjoyed here over the past decade.”

Last year, the LDC opened a subsidiary in Munich for the development of therapeutic antibodies. Altogether, the LDC has created over 75 qualified jobs, most of them at their headquarters in Dortmund.

“Dortmund has always been a superb location for the LDC providing easy access to a high-tech infrastructure and great support from the local network around the TZDO and Sparkasse Dortmund”, Klebl added.

Tuesday February 19th, 2019
New Center of Competence for Innovative Diabetes Therapy (KomIT) is funded by NRW and EU

New Center of Competence for Innovative Diabetes Therapy (KomIT) is funded by NRW and EU

The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) is part of a new consortium of eight partners from industry and academia focusing on the development of new diabetes therapies.

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Februar 19, 2019, Dortmund, Germany – The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) is part of a new consortium of eight partners from industry and academia focusing on the development of new diabetes therapies. During the next three years, a new Center of Competence will be established at the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) based on a total funding of about 3.5 Mio Euro provided by Northrhine-Westphalia and the EU. This center is coordinated by DDZ and aims at efficient translation of new research results into clinical application, finally improving therapeutic options for diabetic patients.

The continuous rise in the number of diabetic patients in Germany and the associated socio-economic burden for the health system urgently require the development of new causal therapies. “Together with our partners we aim to establish a sustainable infrastructure, to bring innovative approaches of diabetes therapy rapidly and directly to the patients” explains Prof. Michael Roden, scientific Director of the German Diabetes Center and coordinator of the new Center of Competence for Innovative Diabetes Therapy (KomIT). “Our joint activities aim to bundle expertise, finally leading to scientific and technological break-throughs in diabetes research”. In addition to the LDC and DDZ, the other partners are: Algiax Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Taros Chemicals GmbH & Co. KG, vivo Science GmbH, A & M Labor für Analytik und Metabolismusforschung Service GmbH, PROFIL Institut für Stoffwechselforschung GmbH, and TU Dortmund with the Drug Discovery Hub Dortmund (DDHD).

In Northrhine-Westphalia, excellent basic research in the field of clinical-experimental diabetes studies is conducted for a long time. However, translation of these results into clinical applications is not yet sufficient to generate an economic boost. For start-ups and small companies with high innovation potential it is often not possible to carry out extensive experimental and clinical research with sufficient critical mass. At this point, the new Center of Competence provides strategic support. Leading idea is to build up a sustainable infrastructure that combines expertise from management, medicinal chemistry, preclinical and analytical studies, toxicology and physiology, up to clinical testing.

This novel research infrastructure provides a strong boost for the pharma and biotech sector in Northrhine-Westphalia and supports innovation and competitiveness in NRW. The project is funded within the program “EFRE.NRW – Investitionen in Wachstum und Beschäftigung” supported by NRW and the Europen Union.

https://www.efre.nrw.de

Tuesday January 8th, 2019
LDC and European-Canadian Consortium Attract €1.1 Million to Develop new Therapies Against Rare Disease ATD
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LDC and European-Canadian Consortium Attract €1.1 Million to Develop new Therapies Against Rare Disease ATD

The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) has teamed up with McGill University in Canada, Institut National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in France and Semmelweis University in Hungary to discover new approaches for the treatment of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (ATD), a rare genetic disorder that lead to severe lung and liver diseases. The partners receive a total of €1.1 million in funding under the transnational E-Rare-3 programme on rare diseases.

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January 08, 2019, Dortmund, Germany – The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) has teamed up with McGill University in Canada, Institut National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in France and Semmelweis University in Hungary to discover new approaches for the treatment of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (ATD), a rare genetic disorder that lead to severe lung and liver diseases. The partners receive a total of €1.1 million in funding under the transnational E-Rare-3 programme on rare diseases.

ATD is caused by mutations of alpha1-antitrypsin (A1AT), an enzyme that is primarily produced in the liver and normally transported to the lung where it helps maintain organ health and function. Genetic alterations lead to misfolded proteins which can no longer be secreted. In the lung, the absence of functional A1AT can lead to critical disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the liver, the accumulation of mutant A1AT can cause liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and subsequently hepatic failure. To date, there is no effective pharmacological treatment for ATD.

This project builds on ground-breaking results of project partner Eric Chevet and his team at INSERM y that provide a novel, highly promising target for ATD treatment. They have shown that the activation of a certain enzyme, IRE1, triggers the release of fully functional ZA1AT from the liver. ZA1AT is the most frequent mutant form of A1AT. The project partners will work together to identify and develop small molecules that can rescue active ZA1AT via IRE1-modulation. The objective is to establish a lead compound series with favourable drug-like properties and proof-of-concept in in-vivo models within three years.

The partnership builds on highly productive existing collaborations between the players and leverages their complementary strengths and capabilities. The teams of McGill University and INSERM contribute leading expertise in the underlying biology of protein misfolding diseases in general, and A1AT and IRE1 function in particular, while the teams of Semmelweis University and LDC bring in world-class medicinal chemistry know-how and infrastructure (incl. pharmacology), together with a proven track record in drug discovery from target level through to proof-of-concept. The project also gains support from leading clinicians and patient organizations committed to finding a cure for ATD and to improving the lives of people affected worldwide.

“This is a unique and truly powerful constellation,” says Bert Klebl, managing director of the LDC. “With our combined expertise and commitment, we are perfectly positioned to advance this project and make a difference to the lives of patients suffering from this rare and widely under-recognized disease.”