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.

###

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

Tuesday September 30th, 2008
Max Planck Innovation's Drug Discovery and Development Center Wins BioPharma Strategy Competition
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Max Planck Innovation's Drug Discovery and Development Center Wins BioPharma Strategy Competition

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Project will receive €20 million in funding from the BMBF

Max Planck Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer agency of the Max Planck Society (MPG), announces today that its concept for a novel Drug Discovery and Development Center (DDC) will receive €20 million in funding from the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through its initiative “BioPharma – The strategy competition for medicine of the future”. The DDC was selected as one of three winners that were presented today in Berlin by Frieder Meyer-Krahmer, State Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Research.

The DDC was jointly developed by Max Planck Innovation and Inventive Capital, a London-based financial services firm, as a novel approach to advance findings from excellent basic research into the development of novel medicines. It comprises two independent legal entities: the Lead Discovery Center (LDC) and a Development Company (DevCo).

The LDC, which has already started operations, will take on innovative research projects that have outstanding medical and commercial prospects but are not yet mature enough to attract professional co-development partners from industry. The LDC team will advance these projects throughout the drug discovery process up to pharmaceutical leads with proof-of-concept in animal models. By the end of this year, the LDC will be working on six projects, spanning a broad range of indications including cancer and diabetes.

The DevCo, which is expected to start operations in the course of 2009, can take leads from the LDC into subsequent drug development stages and initiate clinical studies in humans. Both companies – the LDC and the DevCo – will be staffed with industry-experienced scientists, project managers and drug developers to ensure that drug discovery and development is fully in line with international pharma standards. Thus, the DDC is set to deliver highly innovative and commercially attractive drug candidates that meet the strong demand of industry, physicians and patients for novel medicines.

“The DDC represents an entirely novel approach to technology transfer in Germany”, Jörn Erselius, CEO of Max Planck Innovation comments. “It is unique that a public research organization supports the set up of fully integrated drug discovery and development units and invests substantially into the discovery stage of high potential projects. The fact that the DDC was selected as a winner from a group of highly competitive project proposals validates our approach and highlights the excellence of the concept.”

“Moreover, with the BMBF funding, we will be able to build a pipeline of drug discovery and development projects that is sufficiently broad and diversified to ensure the DDC’s sustained success.” says Matthias Stein-Gerlach, DDC Project Leader at Max Planck Innovation. “Initial LDC projects are sourced from Max Planck Institutes. But in a second step, we are open to take on projects from various sources: universities, research organizations or industry. We are confident, that the DDC will soon become a new role model for highly efficient and professional cooperation between public research institutes and the pharmaceutical industry.”

The “BioPharma strategy competition for medicine of the future” is part of the BMBF’s “Pharmaceuticals Initiative for Germany” which aims to close the gaps in the value-added chain of drug development and strengthen R&D work on new medicines in Germany. The competition received a total of 37 applications, 10 of which reached the final round. Three of those were announced today as winners.

Notes to editors

About Max Planck Innovation

Max Planck Innovation advises and supports scientists of the Max Planck Society in evaluating inventions and filing patent applications. Max Planck Innovation markets patents and technologies to industry and coaches founders of new companies based on research results from Max Planck Institutes.

Every year, Max Planck Innovation evaluates about 150 inventions, of which about half lead to the filing of a patent application. Since 2000, Max Planck Innovation advised more than 35 spin-offs, closed more than 700 license deals and generated proceeds of more than 130 million Euros for inventors, institutes and the Max Planck Society. As a result, Max Planck Innovation is among the world\’s most successful technology transfer organizations. In June 2008, it was honoured for outstanding achievement in developing technology transfer and licensing with the IPTEC International Technology Transfer Award.

Max Planck Innovation was founded in 1970 as Garching Instrumente GmbH and operated under the name of Garching Innovation from 1993 to 2006.

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

About the Lead Discovery Center (LDC)

The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) was jointly developed by Max Planck Innovation and the Max Planck Society as a novel approach to advance findings from excellent basic research into the development of novel medicines. With a world-class team of drug discovery experts and seasoned managers, the LDC offers the full scope of drug discovery services – from target to lead – according to the highest industry standards. As an independent enterprise with an entrepreneurial outlook, it collaborates with research institutions, universities and industry to transform promising and early-stage projects into attractive in-licensing or co-development opportunities: pharmaceutical leads with initial proof-of-concept in animals that meet the increasing need for novel therapeutic agents.

Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de

About Inventive Capital

Inventive Capital Advisors LLP is an international financial services firm, which specializes in structuring and financing new venture capital funds. Inventive Capital develops innovative investment strategies, which capitalize on the proprietary deal flow and expertise found inside large corporations and research organizations. Inventive Capital was founded in 2005, is based in London, UK and Basel, Switzerland and develops alternative investment solutions in the life-science, ICT and energy sectors.

Contacts for Max Planck Innovation:

Dr Matthias Stein-Gerlach, Project Leader DDC

Tel: + 49 89 29 09 19-18, Email: stein-gerlach@max-planck-innovation.de

or

Dr Jörn Erselius, Managing Director

Tel: + 49 89 29 09 19-0, Email: erselius@max-planck-innovation.de

Tuesday June 17th, 2008
Lead Discovery Center Starts Operations
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Lead Discovery Center Starts Operations

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Supporting the development of novel medicines in Germany

Max Planck Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer agency of the Max Planck Society, announces today the opening of its new subsidiary, the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC). It will be based in Dortmund, Germany, and intends to employ a staff of 15-20 experienced drug discovery scientists, project managers, and technical assistants by the end of 2008.

As an independent enterprise with an entrepreneurial outlook, it will take on promising projects from public research and advance them through the drug discovery process up to pharmaceutical leads suited for direct application in preclinical and clinical studies. It will focus on widespread diseases including cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular and other conditions where current therapies have proven insufficient. Initial projects will be sourced from Max Planck institutes, but the LDC remains open to findings from other public research organizations or industry.

“We have been working intensely with industry experts and investors to come up with a new, commercially viable concept to support the development of novel medicines in Germany”, Matthias Stein-Gerlach, LDC Project Leader at Max Planck Innovation comments. “It is with great confidence that we now open the LDC and hand it over to the excellent starting team we have been able to assemble over the last months.”

LDC merges the fields of biology, medicinal chemistry, and pharmacology under the umbrella of professional project management. Using novel therapeutic targets arising from basic research, the LDC team will first identify chemical substances with the desired inhibiting or modulating effect, and then optimize these agents to create chemical leads for pharmaceutical use. Typical LDC development efforts will yield pharmacological agents that fulfill all the criteria of drug candidates attractive to the biopharmaceutical industry for in-licensing or co-development. Until LDC can generate its own revenues from agreements with industry, various sources, including project based funding from the Max Planck Society, government subsidies, and donations will finance the LDC, ensuring the company’s sustained viability.

“In this way, the LDC provides for a new level of quality in early drug development,” Bert Klebl, CEO of the LDC says. “For the first time, we will be able to select the most promising findings from public research and develop them in line with international industry standards up to initial proof-of-concept without being limited by typical investment rules of capital markets. Because regular investment cycles are comparatively short and standard tools for the evaluation of risks and returns are inapplicable to early stages, many compelling projects have run out of money in recent years – regardless of their medical and commercial opportunity. The new, sustainable approach followed by the LDC will help overcome the bottle-neck in drug development, and I am excited to be part of it.”

The LDC forms an essential part of Max Planck Innovation’s Drug Development Center (DDC) that was selected for the final round of the “BioPharma strategy competition for medicine of the future”, a support program of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Notes to editors

About Max Planck Innovation

Max Planck Innovation advises and supports scientists of the Max Planck Society in evaluating inventions and filing patent applications. Max Planck Innovation markets patents and technologies to industry and coaches founders of new companies based on research results from Max Planck Institutes.

Every year, Max Planck Innovation evaluates about 150 inventions, of which about half lead to the filing of a patent application. Since 2000, Max Planck Innovation advised about 35 spin-offs, closed more than 700 license deals and generated proceeds of more than 130 million Euros for inventors, institutes and the Max Planck Society. As a result, Max Planck Innovation is among the world\’s most successful technology transfer organizations.

Max Planck Innovation was founded in 1970 as Garching Instrumente GmbH and operated under the name of Garching Innovation from 1993 to 2006.

Contacts for Max Planck Innovation

Dr Matthias Stein-Gerlach, LDC Project Leader

Tel: + 49 89 29 09 19-18, Email: stein-gerlach@max-planck-innovation.de

or

Dr Jörn Erselius, Managing Director

Tel: +49 89 29 09 19-0, Email: erselius@max-planck-innovation.de

Contact for the Lead Discovery Center

Dr Bert Klebl, Managing Director LDC

Tel: +49 231 97 42-7000, Email: info@lead-discovery.de

Sunday March 30th, 2008
Max Planck Innovation's Drug Discovery Center Selected for Final Round of the BioPharma Strategy Competition
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Max Planck Innovation's Drug Discovery Center Selected for Final Round of the BioPharma Strategy Competition

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Max Planck Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer agency of the Max Planck Society, announces today that its concept for a novel Drug Discovery Center (DDC) has reached the final round of the “BioPharma – strategy competition for medicine of the future “, a support program of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The DDC was jointly developed by Max Planck Innovation and Inventive Capital, a London-based financial services firm , as a new approach to help translate research findings into novel medicines. With integrated know-how in the fields of biology, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, it will take on promising inventions emanating from public research and advance them through the drug discovery process up to proof-of-concept in relevant animal models. From that stage on, it is envisaged that the DDC team takes over project management for preclinical and clinical development up to phase-II trials. In this way, the DDC will be able to move early research projects up the value chain and transform them into highly attractive in-licensing and co-development opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry.

“At the Max Planck Institutes, ideas flourish that have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of many diseases,” Jörn Erselius, Managing Director of Max Planck Innovation, comments. “But during our 30 years of history as mediator between science and industry, we have learnt that only few of them make it into advanced development stages because they are usually just too early to attract a professional development partner from industry.”

In close collaboration with pharmaceutical industry experts and venture capitalists, the DDC was deliberately designed to bridge this “translational gap”. Moreover, it will be led by a management team with a strong track record in drug discovery and development. Working processes, data management and quality control will be fully compatible with international industry standards and enable a smooth transition of DDC projects into a partner’s drug development environment.

“We are confident, that the DDC will soon become a premier source of highly innovative, advanced drug candidates. These cannot only help pharma companies sustain their pipelines but also provide new hope to patients who suffer from diseases that cannot sufficiently be treated so far,” Matthias Stein-Gerlach, Project Leader DDC at Max-Planck Innovation concludes.

The “BioPharma strategy competition for medicine of the future ” is part of the BMBF’s “Pharmaceuticals Initiative for Germany” which aims to close the gaps in the value-added chain of drug development and strengthen R&D work on new medicines in Germany. 10 projects out of 37 applications have now been selected for the final round and will receive funding for the further development of their concepts over the next four months. For the most promising concepts thereof, the BMBF has earmarked an overall funding of 100 million Euros over the next 5 years.

Notes to editors

About Max Planck Innovation

Max Planck Innovation advises and supports scientists of the Max Planck Society in evaluating inventions and filing patent applications. Max Planck Innovation markets patents and technologies to industry and coaches founders of new companies based on research results from Max Planck Institutes.

Every year, Max Planck Innovation evaluates about 150 inventions, of which about half lead to the filing of a patent application. Since 2000, Max Planck Innovation advised 40 spin-offs, closed more than 700 license deals and generated proceeds of more than 140 million Euros for inventors, institutes and the Max Planck Society. As a result, Max Planck Innovation is among the world’s most successful technology transfer organizations.

Max Planck Innovation was founded in 1970 as Garching Instrumente GmbH and operated under the name of Garching Innovation from 1993 to 2006.

About Inventive Capital

Inventive Capital Advisors LLP is an international financial services firm, which specialises in structuring and financing new venture capital funds. Inventive Capital develops innovative investment strategies, which capitalise on the proprietary deal flow and expertise found inside large corporations and research organisations.

Inventive Capital was founded in 2005, is based in London, UK and Basel, Switzerland and develops alternative investment solutions in the life-science, ICT and energy sectors.

Contacts for Max Planck Innovation

Dr Matthias Stein-Gerlach, Project Leader DDC

Tel: + 49 89 29 09 19-18, Email: stein-gerlach@max-planck-innovation.de

or

Dr Jörn Erselius, Managing Director

Tel: + 49 89 29 09 19-0, Email: erselius@max-planck-innovation.de