Press releases

Thursday June 18th, 2020
Neue Forschungsinfrastruktur in Bochum: Center für systembasierte Antibiotikaforschung (CESAR) eröffnet
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Neue Forschungsinfrastruktur in Bochum: Center für systembasierte Antibiotikaforschung (CESAR) eröffnet

Gesucht werden strukturell neue Wirkstoffe, die zur Bekämpfung
multi-resistenter Erreger eingesetzt werden können.

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Dortmund und Bochum, 18.Juni 2020 – Infektionskrankheiten sind in den Industriestaaten wieder die dritthäufigste Todesursache. Grund sind immer mehr Keime, die gegen vorhandene Antibiotika resistent sind. An der Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) entsteht daher, in Zusammenarbeit mit der Lead Discovery Center GmbH, Dortmund (LDC), in den kommenden drei Jahren das Center für systembasierte Antibiotikaforschung (CESAR). Es soll der Erschließung neuer Wirkstoffe dienen und die Vernetzung mit Akteuren aus Wirtschaft und Hochschullandschaft regional und überregional intensivieren. Der Aufbau von CESAR wird vom Europäischen Fonds für regionale Entwicklung und dem Land NRW mit rund 4 Millionen Euro gefördert. Koordiniert wird das Center von Prof. Dr. Julia Bandow.

Mangel an strukturell neuen Substanzen
Seit Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts wurden nur zwei neue Antibiotika-Strukturklassen entdeckt; dennoch betreiben derzeit weltweit nur wenige Unternehmen Antibiotikaforschung und -entwicklung. „Eines der Hauptprobleme ist ein akuter Mangel an vielversprechenden, strukturell neuen antibakteriellen Substanzen, die als Ausgangspunkt für Entwicklungsprojekte dienen können“, sagt Bert Klebl vom LDC.

Mit CESAR wird eine Forschungsinfrastruktur geschaffen, in der modernste Geräte für die Suche nach neuen antibakteriellen Naturstoffen und für die Analyse der Wirkung und Wirkmechanismen von Antibiotika eingesetzt werden. Auch werden Kapazitäten geschaffen, vielversprechende Substanzen in ausreichender Menge für Forschung und Entwicklung zur Verfügung zu stellen. Forscherinnen und Forscher der RUB und des LDC bringen komplementäre Expertise in Massenspektrometrie-basierten OMIC-Technologien, Assay-Entwicklung und Wirkstoffforschung zusammen, mit dem ultimativen Ziel, neue, dringend notwendige Therapiemöglichkeiten zu schaffen.

Bekannte und neue Antibiotikaproduzenten beproben
„Ausgangspunkt für die Suche nach bisher ungenutzten antibiotischen Wirkstoffen sind Bakterien, die solche Substanzen herstellen, um sich gegen konkurrierende Bakterien zu behaupten“, erklärt Julia Bandow. Die Mehrheit der heute genutzten Antibiotika wurde so in den 1940er bis 1960er Jahren entdeckt. Da die Analysemethoden seither stark verbessert wurden, hoffen die Forscher auf weitere Entdeckungen – selbst bei der Untersuchung bekannter Bakterien. Sie wollen deshalb die Gesamtheit der von diesen Bakterien ausgeschütteten Substanzen analysieren.

Die meisten Bakterien harren noch ihrer Entdeckung
Darüber hinaus will das Team aber auch andere, bisher unbekannte Bakterien und deren Stoffwechselprodukte untersuchen. „Die Mehrzahl der existierenden Bakterien ist bisher noch gar nicht beschrieben“, gibt Julia Bandow zu bedenken. „Bisher ist schätzungsweise nur ein Prozent von ihnen kultivierbar.“ Eine erste Sammlung von Mikroben im Botanischen Garten der RUB erbrachte rund 200 solcher Mikroorganismen, die bisher noch nicht untersucht wurden. Ein Bakterium kann mitunter bis zu 1.000 Substanzen ausschütten, deren Wirkung auf andere Organismen zumeist unbekannt ist. Diese Stoffe wollen die Forscherinnen und Forscher mit Hilfe von Techniken wie der Flüssigkeitschromatographie-gekoppelten Tandem-Massenspektrometrie aufspüren, um sie dann aufzureinigen und ihre Wirkung auf bakterielle Krankheitserreger zu charakterisieren.

„Was das Zentrum so einzigartig macht, ist, dass wir uns von Anfang an nicht nur auf einzelne Substanzen konzentrieren, sondern untersuchen, was eine Bakterienkultur als Ganzes produziert“, unterstreicht Julia Bandow den systembasierten Ansatz. „Auch bei der Untersuchung der Wirkung nehmen wir zunächst die gesamte Bakterienzelle in den Blick und nicht ausschließlich ein spezielles Zielprotein.“ Mit der Einrichtung des Centers für systembasierte Antibiotikaforschung wollen das LDC und die RUB dazu beitragen, die Antibiotikaresistenzkrise nachhaltig zu adressieren.

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Kontakte

für das LDC

PR am LDC
T. +49.231.97 42 70 00
E. pr@lead-discovery.de

Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Otto-Hahn-Straße 15
44227 Dortmund
für die Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Prof. Dr. Julia Bandow
Arbeitsgruppe Angewandte Mikrobiologie
Fakultät für Biologie und Biotechnologie
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Tel.: +49 234 32 23102
E-Mail: julia.bandow@rub.de

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Über das LDC
Die Lead Discovery Center GmbH wurde 2008 von der Technologietransfer-Organisation Max-Planck-Innovation gegründet, um das Potenzial exzellenter Grundlagenforschung für die Entwicklung neuer, dringend benötigter Medikamente besser zu nutzen. Das Lead Discovery Center nimmt vielversprechende Projekte aus der akademischen Forschung auf und entwickelt sie typischerweise weiter bis zu pharmazeutischen Leitstrukturen („Proof-of-Concept in Modellsystemen). In enger Zusammenarbeit mit führenden Partnern aus der akademischen Forschung und Industrie entwickelt das Lead Discovery Center ein umfangreiches Portfolio an Projekten im Bereich niedermolekularer Wirkstoffe sowie therapeutische Antikörper mit außergewöhnlich hohem medizinischem und kommerziellem Potenzial.

Das Lead Discovery Center ist der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft langfristig verbunden und arbeitet mit Partnern wie AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Daiichi Sankyo, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Merck KGaA, Qurient, Roche, Sotio, verschiedenen Investoren sowie mit führenden Zentren für Wirkstoffforschung weltweit zusammen.

Tuesday June 16th, 2020
LDC and Qurient Launch Start-up QLi5 Therapeutics in Dortmund, Germany
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LDC and Qurient Launch Start-up QLi5 Therapeutics in Dortmund, Germany

Dortmund, Germany, June 16th, 2020 — The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and the South Korean drug development specialist Qurient have founded QLi5 Therapeutics GmbH, together with their partners, the Max Planck Society (MPG) and Nobel laureate Prof. Huber, emeritus director of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry. Dortmund based QLi5 Therapeutics licensed novel proteasome inhibitors from LDC and its partners. QLi5 Therapeutics will advance these towards preclinical and clinical development for the treatment of cancers as well as inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

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The novel proteasome inhibitors were generated within a long standing and successful collaboration between the LDC and Prof. Huber. Combining Prof. Huber’s vast expertise in the field of proteasome with the LDC’s drug discovery capabilities, the partners have created a portfolio of proteasome inhibitors with unique binding characteristics and favourable pharmacodynamic properties. The further development in the joint venture with Qurient is the outcome of a successful strategic partnership between Qurient, LDC and Max Planck.

“The proteasome is a real treasure chest,” Prof. Huber comments, “and the launch of Qli5 Therapeutics enables us to harness its potential for the treatment of many diseases. Our new generation of proteasome inhibitors is set to overcome key challenges that have so far hampered a broader application of the first generation of covalently acting proteasome inhibitors.” The proteasome plays an important role in cell regulation by degrading proteins and represents a well established clinical target for the treatment of liquid tumours, in particular multiple myeloma.

“We believe the LDC’s innovative proteasome inhibitors hold exceptional potential, and we are excited to be part of QLi5 Therapeutics to jointly advance them towards preclinical and clinical testing,” Kiyean Nam, CEO and CSO of Qurient adds. “We very much appreciate the LDC as long-term partner and prime source of external innovation.” Over the last years, Qurient has licensed two other inhibitor projects from the LDC, targeting the kinases, Axl and CDK7 respectively. Both leads have made considerable progress since, e.g. nomination for clinical development.

“The foundation of Qli5 Therapeutics is the current peak of our trustful and long-term collaborations with Prof. Huber and Qurient, our exceptionally strong and committed South Korean partner,” Bert Klebl, CEO and CSO of the LDC comments. “This joint venture is a wonderful step forward in our mutual relationship and it is a great opportunity to translate the potential of the proteasome complex into more tangible benefits for patients.”

“Having previously licensed assets to Qurient, we are delighted to now jointly start-up a venture with Qurient. QLi5 provides excellent prospects to enable a much needed next generation of proteasome inhibitors. Bringing the company on track together with Qurient has been a swift and smooth endeavour”, adds Dieter Link, Licensing Manager at Max Planck Innovation GmbH.

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>> Contact
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de

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About Qurient
Qurient is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company listed in Korea Exchange (KRX 115180). Qurient mainly focuses on development of novel therapeutics from discovery to human proof of concept stages through virtual R&D project management platform. Qurient currently has three programs in clinical development: Q301, a topical leukotriene inhibitor for atopic dermatitis, completed Phase 2b study; telacebec (Q203), a first-in-class orally available cytochrome bc1 inhibitor for tuberculosis, completed Phase 2 study; and Q702, entering Phase 1/2 study under US FDA. Qurient recently nominated Q901, a selective CDK7 inhibitor, as a preclinical candidate for solid tumors, which is expected to enter the clinic in 2021.
Further information: www.qurient.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 KHAN-I technology transfer GmbH & Co.KG. LDC has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient and Sotio as well as leading translational drug discovery centers. More recently, LDC and KHAN-I are transferring their assets also into spin-outs for syndication with other investors.
Further information: 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: www.max-planck-innovation.com

Tuesday June 16th, 2020
LDC und Qurient bringen Start-up QLi5 Therapeutics in Dortmund auf den Weg
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LDC und Qurient bringen Start-up QLi5 Therapeutics in Dortmund auf den Weg

Dortmund, 16. Juni 2020 – Die Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) und der südkoreanische Arzneimittel-Entwickler Qurient haben in enger Kooperation mit weiteren Partnern die QLi5 Therapeutics GmbH gegründet. Die Partner sind die Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG) und der Nobelpreisträger Prof. Huber, emeritierter Direktor des Max-Planck-Instituts für Biochemie. Die in Dortmund ansässige QLi5 Therapeutics hat neue Proteasom-Inhibitoren vom LDC und seinen Partnern lizenziert, um sie in die präklinische und klinische Prüfung voranzubringen und für die Behandlung von Krebs-, Entzündungs- und Autoimmunerkrankungen zu entwickeln.

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Die Proteasom-Inhibitoren wurden im Rahmen einer langfristigen erfolgreichen Kooperation von LDC und Prof. Huber entwickelt, wobei Prof. Huber seine führende Expertise auf dem Gebiet des Proteasoms eingebracht hat und das LDC seine besondere Kompetenz im Bereich Wirkstoffentwicklung. Gemeinsam haben sie ein Portfolio an Proteasom-Inhibitoren mit einzigartigen Bindungseigenschaften und günstigen pharmakodynamischen Eigenschaften etabliert. Durch die erfolgreiche, strategische Zusammenarbeit von LDC, Qurient und MPG ist es dann gelungen, ein Joint Venture mit Qurient zur Weiterentwicklung dieses Ansatzes aufzubauen.

„Das Proteasom ist eine wahre Schatztruhe”, so Prof. Huber, „und der Start von QLi5 Therapeutics erlaubt es uns, sein Potenzial zur Behandlung vielfältiger Krankheiten auszuschöpfen. Unsere neuen Proteasom-Inhibitoren haben beste Aussichten, die Schwierigkeiten der ersten Generation kovalent bindender Proteasom-Inhibitoren zu überwinden, die eine breitere Anwendung des Ansatzes bislang behindert haben.” Das Proteasom spielt eine wichtige Rolle in der Zellregulation, indem es Proteine abbaut. Als Zielstruktur zur Behandlung flüssiger Tumore ist es klinisch gut etabliert, insbesondere beim Multiplen Myelom.

„Wir sind vom Potenzial der innovativen Proteasom-Inhibitoren aus dem LDC überzeugt und freuen uns, diese im Team mit QLi5 in die präklinische und klinische Prüfung voranzubringen“, ergänzt Kiyean Nam, CEO und CSO von Qurient. „Wir schätzen das LDC als langfristigen Partner und wichtige Quelle von Innovation.“ Im Laufe der vergangenen Jahre hat Qurient zwei weitere Projekte vom LDC lizenziert, welche auf die Entwicklung von Kinaseinhibitoren abzielen. Beide Projekte haben seitdem deutliche Fortschritte gemacht, z.B. bis hin zu einer Nominierung für die klinische Entwicklung.

„Die Gründung von Qli5 Therapeutics ist der Höhepunkt einer vertrauensvollen, langfristigen Kooperation mit Prof. Huber und Qurient, unserem außergewöhnlich leistungsfähigen und engagierten Partner in Südkorea”, meint Bert Klebl, Geschäftsführer und wissenschaftlicher Direktor des LDC. „Dieses Joint Venture ist ein großartiger Schritt vorwärts in unserer Beziehung und eine wertvolle Chance, das Potenzial des Proteasoms in praktischen Nutzen für Patienten zu übertragen.“

„Nachdem wir bereits Projekte an Qurient lizenziert haben, freuen wir uns jetzt sehr, gemeinsam ein Unternehmen auf den Weg zu bringen. QLi5 hat beste Chancen, die dringend benötigte nächste Generation an Proteasom-Inhibitoren zu realisieren. Die gemeinsame Gründung von Qurient lief sehr zügig und konstruktiv“, so Dieter Link, Lizenzmanager bei Max-Planck-Innovation.

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>> Kontakt
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de

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Über Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Die Lead Discovery Center GmbH wurde 2008 von der Technologietransfer-Organisation Max-Planck-Innovation gegründet, um das Potenzial exzellenter Grundlagenforschung für die Entwicklung neuer, dringend benötigter Medikamente besser zu nutzen. Das Lead Discovery Center nimmt vielversprechende Projekte aus der akademischen Forschung auf und entwickelt sie typischerweise weiter bis zu pharmazeutischen Leitstrukturen („Proof-of-Concept“) in Modellsystemen. In enger Zusammenarbeit mit führenden Partnern aus der akademischen Forschung und der Industrie entwickelt das Lead Discovery Center ein umfangreiches Portfolio an Projekten im Bereich niedermolekularer Wirkstoffe sowie therapeutische Antikörper mit außergewöhnlich hohem medizinischem und kommerziellem Potenzial. Das Lead Discovery Center ist der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft langfristig verbunden und arbeitet mit Partnern wie AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Daiichi Sankyo, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Merck KGaA, Qurient, Roche, Sotio, verschiedenen Investoren sowie mit führenden Zentren für Wirkstoffforschung weltweit zusammen.
Weitere Informationen: www.lead-discovery.de

 
Über Max-Planck-Innovation
Als Technologietransfer-Organisation der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft ist Max-Planck-Innovation das Bindeglied zwischen Industrie und Grundlagenforschung. Mit unserem interdisziplinären Team beraten und unterstützen wir die Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler der Max-Planck-Institute bei der Bewertung von Erfindungen, der Anmeldung von Patenten sowie der Gründung von Unternehmen. Der Industrie bieten wir einen zentralen Zugang zu den Innovationen der Max-Planck-Institute. Damit erfüllen wir eine wichtige Aufgabe: Den Transfer von Ergebnissen der Grundlagenforschung in wirtschaftlich und gesellschaftlich nützliche Produkte.
Weitere Informationen: www.max-planck-innovation.de

Über Qurient
Qurient ist ein biopharmazeutisches Unternehmen, das an der koreanischen Börse notiert ist (KRX 115180). Mit Hilfe einer virtuellen R&D Projektmanagement-Plattform entwickelt Qurient neue Therapeutika von der Entdeckung bis zum Proof-of-Concept beim Menschen. Qurient hat aktuell drei Programme in der klinischen Entwicklung: Q301, ein topischer Leukotrien-Inhibitor zur Behandlung atopischer Dermatitis (Phase 2b abgeschlossen); Telacebec (Q203), ein innovativer, oral verfügbarer Cytochrom-bc1-Inhibitor zur Behandlung von Tuberkulose (Phase 2 abgeschlossen); und Q702 (zur Phase 1/2 zugelassen durch die FDA). Qurient hat kürzlich Q901, einen selektiven CDK7-Inhibitor, als präklinischen Kandidaten für solide Tumore nominiert. Start der klinischen Prüfungen ist voraussichtlich 2021.
Weitere Informationen: www.qurient.com

Tuesday May 26th, 2020
Qurient Announces U.S. FDA Clearance of IND Application for Q702, a Novel Cancer Immunotherapy
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Qurient Announces U.S. FDA Clearance of IND Application for Q702, a Novel Cancer Immunotherapy

Phase 1 clinical study in patients with advanced solid tumor expected to start in 3Q20

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Seongnam-si, Korea, and Dortmund, Germany, May 26, 2020 — Qurient Co. Ltd. (KRX: 115180), a clinical stage biotech company in Korea, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its investigational new drug (IND) application for Q702, orally available immuno-oncology therapeutic small molecule targeting Axl, Mer and CSF1 receptor tyrosine kinases.
 
Under this IND, Qurient plans to initiate a Phase 1 clinical study in patients with advanced solid tumors for whom standard of care therapies are currently ineffective. The Phase 1 study is expected to begin in 3Q2020 and is designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and preliminary anti-tumor activity of Q702. The study will be conducted at multiple clinical centers in the United States.
 
“IND clearance for Q702 is an important milestone presenting a novel drug candidate that not only boosts immune cells in the tumor microenvironment but also makes tumor cells more visible to the immune system,” said Kiyean Nam, Ph.D., CEO of Qurient. “We believe Q702 may have an important role in the cancer immunotherapy, improving clinical responses in patients who are unresponsive and/or refractory to currently available immunotherapy.”
 
Q702 is an orally available, selective Axl/Mer/CSF1R triple kinase inhibitor showing significant in vivo activity as monotherapy as well as in combination with anti-PD-1 antibody. Q702 not only modulates innate immune components such as myeloid derived suppressor cell (MDSC), tumor associated macrophage (TAM) in tumor micro-environment (TME), but also increases MHC I expression in tumor cell.
 
The Axl inhibitor program was licensed from Lead Discovery Center (LDC) and the Max Planck Society at lead stage and further optimized by Qurient. The research program initially originated from Professor Axel Ullrich’s laboratory from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried/Germany.
 
“We are excited to see the progress in this project and are looking forward to the application in humans in the near future. With Qurient, we have identified an ideal partner for this project and we are more than happy about the results of our strategic partnership with them,” said Matthias Stein-Gerlach, Senior Patent and Licensing Manager at Max Planck Innovation GmbH.
 
”Reaching a clinical candidate for development is one of the most important milestones in our partnerships,” adds Bert Klebl, CEO and CSO of the LDC. “Starting an early-stage collaboration with Ullrich’s lab from Max Planck, leading to a licensing agreement with Qurient, we jointly mastered the pharmaceutical research phase and are now very eager to receive the results from this drug candidate in patients. Starting with this program, we have since built a sustainable and strong partnership with our partner Qurient, focusing on the translation of innovative biology and drug discovery programs from LDC’s academic network.”

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>> Contact
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de

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About Qurient
 Qurient is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company listed in Korea Exchange (KRX 115180). Qurient mainly focuses on development of novel therapeutics from discovery to human proof of concept stages through virtual R&D project management platform. Qurient currently has three programs in clinical development: Q301, a topical leukotriene inhibitor for atopic dermatitis, completed Phase 2b study; telacebec (Q203), a first-in-class orally available cytochrome bc1 inhibitor for tuberculosis, completed Phase 2 study; and Q702, entering Phase 1/2 study. Qurient recently nominated Q901, a selective CDK7 inhibitor, as a preclinical candidate for solid tumors, which is expected to enter the clinic in 2021. For more info, please visit www.qurient.com.
 
About LDC
Lead Discovery Center GmbH 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, KHAN-I GmbH & Co.KG and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient,  and Sotio, e.g.In addition, LDC also works with leading translational drug discovery centers and with various investors to provide its assets for company creation. 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 May 13th, 2020
Corona: Impfung ohne Nadel
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Corona: Impfung ohne Nadel

Wissenschaftler entwickeln ein Verfahren, mit dem ein Impfstoff über die Haut aufgenommen werden kann

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Potsdam und Dortmund, 13. Mai 2020 — Das Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung in Potsdam und der Technologietransfer-Fond KHAN-I entwickeln gemeinsam mit dem Lead Discovery Center in Dortmund ein Impfverfahren gegen SARS-CoV2. Die Forscherinnen und Forscher hoffen, in den kommenden Jahren über den gezielten Impfstofftransport über die Haut Immunität und Schutz gegen das Virus aufbauen zu können.

SARS-CoV2 hat mittlerweile über 3,6 Millionen Menschen weltweit infiziert und ist verantwortlich für über 250.000 Todesfälle. Die Dunkelziffer wird deutlich höher eingeschätzt. Für Milliarden Menschen bestimmt diese Pandemie gegenwärtig den Lebensalltag und auch langfristig sind die Auswirkungen auf Weltwirtschaft und Gesundheitssysteme schwerwiegend. In Industrie und akademischer Forschung wird über viele Lösungsansätze an der schnellen Entwicklung eines wirksamen, anhaltenden Impfschutzes gearbeitet, der in der Zukunft die Notwendigkeit drastischer Maßnahmen zur Ausbreitungsbeschränkung solcher Erkrankungen vermeiden kann.
 
Impfstoffe stellen die einzige langfristige Möglichkeit dar, einen Erreger zu bekämpfen. Im Zusammenhang mit SARS-CoV2 werden vor allem neuartige und schnell auf neue Viren anpassbare Impftechnologien forciert, die auf die Applikation von Nukleinsäure-Wirkstoffen oder Verwendung von Adenovirus-Vektoren beruhen. Fast alle dieser Technologien beruhen auf der Injektion des Impfstoffs in den Muskel des Patienten.
 
Gezielte Aktivierung der Langerhans Zellen
In der Haut ist die Dichte der Immunzellen allerdings höher als in Muskeln: Hier befinden sich auch die sogenannten Langerhans-Zellen. Diese Zellen aktivieren und koordinieren die anti-virale Antwort im Körper [1].

Die Arbeitsgruppe von Christoph Rademacher am Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung hat eine neue Plattformtechnologie entwickelt, mit dem diese Langerhans-Zellen gezielt angesprochen werden können, das Langerhans Cell Targeted Delivery System (LC-TDS) [2, 3]. Dieses System soll es ermöglichen, Impfstoffe direkt auf die Haut aufzutragen oder mit Mikronadeln zu injizieren. Dafür nutzt es die natürlichen Mechanismen des Immunsystems. „Wir gehen davon aus, dass unser System alle Impfstoffe freisetzen kann, die Proteine, Peptide oder mRNA verwenden“, sagt Christoph Rademacher, Gruppenleiter am Potsdamer Max-Planck-Institut und Haupterfinder der neuen Technologie.
 
Neue Plattformtechnologie ermöglicht effiziente Freisetzung des Impfstoffs
Die zentrale Rolle spielt beim LC-TDS ein hoch-spezifischer chemischer Baustein, der das Andocken ausschließlich an Langerhans Zellen ermöglicht und dort eine effiziente Freisetzung des Impfstoffs erlaubt. Mit der Anpassung der bestehenden LC-TDS-Technologie auf SARS-CoV2 versuchen die Forscherinnen und Forscher des Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung mithilfe der schnell mobilisierten Finanzierung von KHAN-I in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Lead Discovery Center in Dortmund nun ein schnell verfügbares Impfverfahren zu entwickeln. „Die Finanzierung durch KHAN-I ist der erste Schritt für die LC-TDS Technologie in die unternehmerische Selbstständigkeit als künftige Cutanos GmbH, der wir mit großer Hoffnung auf eine breite Anwendbarkeit entgegensehen“, sagt Bert Klebl, Geschäftsführer von KHAN-I und ergänzt: „Weitere Investoren sind willkommen“.
 
“Durch die vom KHAN-I Fund finanzierte Zusammenarbeit zwischen Lead Discovery Center und Max-Planck-Institut wurden äußerst kompetente Partner zusammengebracht und ein sehr guter Weg gefunden, die vielversprechende LC-TDS Technologie schnell für die Entwicklung eines SARS-CoV2-Impfstoffs zur Verfügung stellen zu können”, fügt Mareike Göritz, Patent- und Lizenzmanagerin beim Lizenzgeber und Vertragspartner Max-Planck-Innovation hinzu.
 
 

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>> Kontakt
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de

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Über Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung
Im Mittelpunkt steht die Erforschung und Kontrolle von sehr kleinen bzw. sehr dünnen Strukturen im Nano- und Mikrometerbereich. Diese winzigen Strukturen bestimmen die Eigenschaften von Materialien und Bio-Systemen. Ein tieferes Verständnis ist Schlüssel für zahlreiche Innovationen wie z.B. neuartige Impfstoffe, intelligente Wirkstoffträger sowie adaptive Biomaterialien. Auch an der Energiegewinnung der Zukunft und der Vermeidung von CO2-Emissionen wird hier geforscht.
 
Über KHAN-I
KHAN-I ist ein Technologietransfer-Fond, der Ende 2019 ins Leben gerufen wurde, u.a. mit Mitteln des Europäischen Investitionsfonds, der Max-Planck-Förderstiftung und der Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH. Er investiert in Projekte und Start-up Firmen, die innovative Therapien entwickeln.

Über Lead Discovery Center
Die Lead Discovery Center GmbH wurde 2008 von der Technologietransfer-Organisation Max-Planck-Innovation gegründet, um das Potenzial exzellenter Grundlagenforschung für die Entwicklung neuer, dringend benötigter Medikamente besser zu nutzen. Das Lead Discovery Center nimmt vielversprechende Projekte aus der akademischen Forschung auf und entwickelt sie typischerweise weiter bis zu pharmazeutischen Leitstrukturen („Proof-of-Concept“ in Modellsystemen). In enger Zusammenarbeit mit führenden Partnern aus der akademischen Forschung und Industrie entwickelt das Lead Discovery Center ein umfangreiches Portfolio an Projekten im Bereich niedermolekularer Wirkstoffe sowie therapeutische Antikörper mit außergewöhnlich hohem medizinischem und kommerziellem Potenzial. Weitere Informationen: www.lead-discovery.de
 
Über Max-Planck-Innovation
Als Technologietransfer-Organisation der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft ist Max-Planck-Innovation das Bindeglied zwischen Industrie und Grundlagenforschung. Mit unserem interdisziplinären Team beraten und unterstützen wir die Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler der Max-Planck-Institute bei der Bewertung von Erfindungen, der Anmeldung von Patenten sowie der Gründung von Unternehmen. Der Industrie bieten wir einen zentralen Zugang zu den Innovationen der Max-Planck-Institute. Damit erfüllen wir eine wichtige Aufgabe: Den Transfer von Ergebnissen der Grundlagenforschung in wirtschaftlich und gesellschaftlich nützliche Produkte. Weitere Informationen: www.max-planck-innovation.de
 

 
1.         Wong, E., et al., Langerhans Cells Orchestrate the Protective Antiviral Innate Immune
            Response in the Lymph Node. Cell Rep, 2019. 29(10): p. 3047-3059 e3.
2.         Wamhoff, E.C., et al., A Specific, Glycomimetic Langerin Ligand for Human Langerhans Cell
            Targeting. ACS Cent Sci, 2019. 5(5): p. 808-820.
3.         Schulze, J., et al., A Liposomal Platform for Delivery of a Protein Antigen to
            Langerin-Expressing Cells.
Biochemistry, 2019. 58(21): p. 2576-2580.

Wednesday May 13th, 2020
Corona: Vaccination Without Needle?
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Corona: Vaccination Without Needle?

Scientists are developing a procedure whereby vaccines can be absorbed through the skin.

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Potsdam and Dortmund, Germany, May 13, 2020 — The Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and the Technology Transfer Fund KHAN-I are developing a vaccine procedure for SARS-CoV2 together with the Lead Discovery Center in Dortmund. The researchers hope that within the next few years, they will be able to establish immunity to and protection from the virus using targeted vaccine transport via the skin.

SARS-CoV2 has already infected more than 3.6 million people worldwide, and is responsible for over 250.000 deaths. The number of unreported cases is estimated to be significantly higher. The pandemic is affecting the everyday life of billions of people, with long-term severe consequences for the global economy and health systems. Industry and academia are currently applying many different approaches to the rapid development of effective, sustained immunization in order to avoid the drastic measures required to prevent the spread of such diseases.
 
Vaccines are the only possibility for defeating an infectious agent in the long term. In the case of SARS-CoV2, novel vaccine technologies that can quickly be adapted to new viruses are being pushed, particularly those based on the application of nucleic acids or the use of adenovirus vectors. Nearly all these technologies involve the injection of the vaccine into the patient’s muscle.
 
Targeted activation of Langerhans cells
The concentration of immune cells is, however, higher in the skin than in muscle. So-called Langerhans cells are also present in the skin, and these activate and coordinate the body’s antiviral response [1].
 
Christoph Rademacher’s research group at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces has developed a new platform technology that specifically addresses Langerhans cells: the Langerhans Cell Targeted Delivery System (LC-TDS) [2, 3]. This system enables vaccines to be applied directly onto the skin or injected with microneedles, thereby using the immune system’s natural mechanisms. “We expect our system to be able to release all vaccines that use proteins, peptides or mRNA,” says Christoph Rademacher, Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and main inventor of the new technology.
 
New platform technology allows efficient vaccine release
The central role in the LC-TDS is played by a highly specific chemical component that enables exclusive binding to Langerhans cells, where the efficient release of vaccine can then take place. By adapting existing LC-TDS technology to SARS-CoV2, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces – with the help of the swiftly mobilized KHAN-I financing – now aim to develop a rapidly available vaccination procedure in cooperation with the LDC in Dortmund. “The KHAN-I financing marks the first step for LC-TDS technology on the road to future entrepreneurial independence as Cutanos GmbH, which we look forward to with high hopes for wide-ranging applications,” says Bert Klebl, CEO of KHAN-I, adding: “Further investors are welcome.”
 
“With the KHAN-I-funded collaboration between the LDC and the Max Planck Institute, extraordinarily competent partners have been brought together, and an excellent way has been found to quickly make this promising LC-TDS technology available for the development of a SARS-CoV2 vaccine,” adds Mareike Göritz, Patent & License Manager at the licensor and contractual partner Max Planck Innovation.
 
 
# # #

 

>> Contact
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de

# # #

 
About the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces
The institute focuses on the exploration and control of very small and very thin structures in in the nanometer and micrometer ranges. These minute structures determine the properties of materials and biosystems. A deeper understanding is the key to numerous inventions, e.g. new vaccines, smart drug carriers and adaptive biomaterials. Future energy production and avoidance of CO2 emissions are further areas of research.
 
About KHAN-I
KHAN-I is a technology transfer fund founded at the end of 2019 and financed, among others, by the European Investment Fund, the Max Planck Foundation and the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH. It invests in projects and start-ups developing innovative therapies.
 
About the Lead Discovery Center
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. Further information: 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.
 
 
1.         Wong, E., et al., Langerhans Cells Orchestrate the Protective Antiviral Innate Immune
            Response in the Lymph Node.
            Cell Rep, 2019. 29(10): p.3047-3059 e3.
2.         Wamhoff, E.C., et al., A Specific, Glycomimetic Langerin Ligand for Human Langerhans Cell
            Targeting. ACS Cent Sci, 2019. 5(5): p. 808-820.
3.         Schulze, J., et al., A Liposomal Platform for Delivery of a Protein Antigen to
            Langerin-Expressing Cells.
Biochemistry, 2019. 58(21): p. 2576-2580.
 

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.”

# # #

 

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

###

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.”