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 December 5th, 2013
Anti-Cancer Program Originating from LDC Reaches Clinical Trials
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Anti-Cancer Program Originating from LDC Reaches Clinical Trials

First LDC-lead structure successfully progressed by Bayer Pharma AG into clinical study phase

The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) announces today that an innovative kinase inhibitor program licensed to Bayer Pharma AG, Germany (Bayer) in 2011, has been progressed to clinical trials. By 2012, Bayer had successfully advanced a lead compound from the program to the preclinical development stage. This fall, Bayer enrolled the first participant into a Phase I study to determine the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile in patients with advanced cancer.

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Dortmund, December 05, 2013 – The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) announces today that an innovative kinase inhibitor program licensed to Bayer Pharma AG, Germany (Bayer) in 2011, has been progressed to clinical trials. By 2012, Bayer had successfully advanced a lead compound from the program to the preclinical development stage. This fall, Bayer enrolled the first participant into a Phase I study to determine the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile in patients with advanced cancer.

This is the first example of a program initiated and developed up to a lead structure stage by the LDC and its academic partners to progress into “First-in-Man” clinical trials. The licensed program included a lead structure from a chemical series of selective kinase inhibitors with potential for improving cancer treatment originally discovered by LDC. This lead structure was further optimized by Bayer scientists to provide a candidate suitable for clinical development.

“We are extremely pleased to see this program progressed by Bayer into Phase I clinical trials. This is a significant milestone which confirms our approach and encourages us further to commit all our energy into the development of our portfolio,” said Dr Bert Klebl, Managing Director & Chief Scientific Officer of LDC. “My thanks go to my dedicated colleagues from the LDC as well as to our academic collaboration partners. We have worked together very productively to rapidly transfer this novel approach from academic research to a lead structure with preclinical proof of concept. We are also grateful to the Bayer team for moving this program quickly forward from the lead structure into Phase I clinical testing.”

According to the partners’ agreement, the LDC receives an additional predefined payment on achievement of this milestone. The revenues will be shared with the LDC’s academic partners and the Max-Planck-Förderstiftung, which co-funded the early project development. Milestone payments to LDC may aggregate up to 82.5 million Euros in development milestones and up to 55 million Euros in sales milestones. In addition, LDC is eligible to receive royalty payments on net sales of products once marketed.

About the kinase inhibitor program:
The licensed lead structure belongs to a series of novel and highly selective kinase inhibitors that have initially been developed by LDC in a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Max-Planck-Förderstiftung. This program emerged from a collaboration between the LDC and research groups from the Westfälische Wilhelms University of Münster (Prof Dr Michael Meisterernst) and the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg (Dr Gerhard Mittler).
Kinases are key components of biochemical signaling pathways that control cellular growth, metabolism and differentiation. They have therefore become prime targets for drug discovery and development in many diseases, especially in oncology.

About 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.
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, LDC is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. LDC sustains a preferred partnership with the Max Planck Society and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer and Merck Serono as well as leading academic drug discovery centers around the globe.
Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de

Contact
Lead Discovery Center
Thomas Hegendörfer
T. +49.231.97 42 70 02
E. hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

Thursday October 31st, 2013
Lead Discovery Center Announces Five-year Strategic Partnership with Merck Serono
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Lead Discovery Center Announces Five-year Strategic Partnership with Merck Serono

LDC today announced a five-year strategic partnership with Merck Serono, Darmstadt, Germany, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. This collaboration integrates the expertise and resources of both organizations to expedite the discovery of promising lead structures and to optimize the development of therapeutic candidates in areas of high unmet medical need.

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Dortmund, Germany, October 31, 2013 – Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) a renowned translational research organization, today announced a five-year strategic partnership with Merck Serono, Darmstadt, Germany, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. This collaboration integrates the expertise and resources of both organizations to expedite the discovery of promising lead structures and to optimize the development of therapeutic candidates in areas of high unmet medical need.

Under the terms of this agreement, Merck Serono and LDC will enter into a broader drug discovery collaboration aiming to identify lead candidates to multiple drug targets. Merck Serono hereby expands a successful initial collaboration with LDC in oncology into a strategic partnership spanning across all of Merck Serono’s core research and development areas. The first project under the new agreement will be in immunology and emerged from an ongoing collaboration of LDC with the Max-Planck researcher and Nobel Laureate Prof. Robert Huber.

“Merck Serono is a recognized leader in drug discovery and development with a strong research base in Germany and shares our rigorous approach to pursuing the most promising lead candidates,” said Dr. Bert Klebl, Managing Director of LDC. “We are excited to extend our collaboration with Merck Serono into a strategic alliance combining our complementary expertise to translate academic research into promising drug candidates at an accelerated rate, and with a greater chance of therapeutic success.”

“This partnership is a key element of our strategy to access alliances with leading partners to enhance our pipeline of novel targets and drug candidates,” said Dr. Susan Jane Herbert, Executive Vice President, Head of Business Development and Strategy at Merck Serono. “We are confident that the combination of LDC’s strong academic network and high innovation potential in chemical optimization and screening, combined with the drug development and clinical trial expertise of Merck Serono, has the potential to accelerate our joint development of new therapies in areas of high unmet medical needs.”

Both organizations will contribute expertise, infrastructure and resources to identify lead candidates and will work closely together in interdisciplinary project teams to advance them into pharmaceutical leads. More specifically, LDC will drive the design, screening and synthesis of compounds during discovery phases, while Merck Serono will provide extended in vitro and in vivo pharmacological profiling, scale up, pre-clinical and pharmacokinetics as well as clinical study design expertise. Merck Serono will be responsible for drug development and commercialization for selected drug candidates. Under the terms of the agreement, LDC will receive research funding, and for selected drug candidates, milestone and royalty payments. Further financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.

Contacts

Merck Serono

Andrea Marquart

T. +49.6151.72 6517

Lead Discovery Center
Thomas Hegendörfer
T. +49.231.97 42 70 02
E. hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

Tuesday March 12th, 2013
MPI of Biochemistry, LDC and Qurient Close License Deal on a New Compound against Metastatic and Drug-resistant Cancers
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MPI of Biochemistry, LDC and Qurient Close License Deal on a New Compound against Metastatic and Drug-resistant Cancers

The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB), the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and Qurient Co., Ltd have entered into a license agreement providing Qurient with world-wide, exclusive rights to a new kinase inhibitor for the treatment of metastatic cancer.

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March 12, 2013, Dortmund/ Martinsried, Germany and Gyeonggi-do, Korea – The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB), the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and Qurient Co., Ltd have entered into a license agreement providing Qurient with world-wide, exclusive rights to a new kinase inhibitor for the treatment of metastatic cancer.

The lead compound belongs to a family of highly selective Axl kinase inhibitors that was jointly developed by LDC and Max-Planck researchers around Prof. Axel Ullrich at MPIB. Together they have shown that the new Axl kinase inhibitor interferes with key mechanisms of metastasis formation and significantly reduces the number of metastases in-vivo. The project originally emerged from a collaboration of MPIB with Vichem Chemie Research Ltd.

During the coming year, Qurient, LDC and MPIB will work closely together to ensure a smooth transition of the project into preclinical and clinical development at Qurient. The company plans to continue the project at least to clinical proof-of-concept before sublicensing it to a partner for further development and marketing. Under the terms of the agreement, LDC and MPIB will receive an upfront payment as well as milestone and royalty payments, in line with the project’s progress.

This agreement would not have been possible without the support of Max Planck Innovation, the technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society.

The new Axl kinase inhibitor addresses a severe unmet medical need. According to the WHO, the number of cancer deaths worldwide is still on the rise, with 13.1 million deaths predicted in 2030. Up to 90% of cancer deaths are thought to be due to metastasis. So far, there is no effective treatment available for metastasis, and there are only very few projects under development.

“It is a very exciting opportunity for Qurient to develop a promising Axl kinase inhibitor discovered at the world renowned research institutes LDC and MPIB,” says Kiyean Nam, CSO of Qurient. “This program will be a front runner in our strategy to turn cancer into a chronic disease enabling patients to lead a normal life style.”

Axel Ullrich, Director at MPIB comments: “We are delighted that we have concluded an agreement with such a competent partner. This partnership will be crucial to rapidly advance this completely novel approach to fight cancer to a successful product. While certain genetically well characterized cancers can be treated effectively today, metastasis formation remains a key threat to patients’ lives. A drug based on this novel mechanism of action will hopefully improve the quality of life of numerous cancer patients in the future.”

“Our new Axl kinase inhibitor addresses this challenging field, which has fallen behind in the industry’s development pipelines,” adds Bert Klebl, CEO of LDC. “With Qurient we have now attracted a partner who has not only the expertise and capability, but also the drive to move such an exciting project forward and help realize the potential of academic innovation for patients who lack satisfactory treatment options.”

About Qurient:

Starting operation in 2009, Qurient is a venture capital funded spin-off biotechnology company of Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) and dedicated to developing novel therapeutics for unmet medical needs. Qurient has in-house expertise in research and development project management and operates in a large part as a development management company using its network of drug development capabilities.

Qurient works from discovery to human proof-of-concept programs, where transformation takes place from a high potential research program into a solid product portfolio. Further information available at: www.qurient.com

About MPIB:

The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) is an international basic research institute elucidating the structure and function of proteins to better understand cellular mechanisms as well the pathogenesis of diseases such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s as well as to develop new strategies for therapy. With around 850 employees, the Institute is one of the largest biologically-medically oriented research institutes of the Max Planck Society. Since the founding of the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in 1972, MPIB scientists have twice been awarded the Nobel Prize.

The research of the Axel Ullrich lab is especially focused on the molecular analysis of cellular signal transduction mechanisms such as receptor tyrosine kinases and their role in cancer.

Further information available at: www.biochem.mpg.de/ullrich

Contacts

Qurient
Kiyean Nam
T. + 82.31.80 18 83 70
E. knam@qurient.com

Lead Discovery Center
Thomas Hegendörfer
T. +49.231.97 42 70 02
E. hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

Tuesday February 12th, 2013
LDC is Consortium Partner in European Lead Factory

LDC is Consortium Partner in European Lead Factory

The European Lead Factory, a novel platform for innovative drug discovery, was launched early February by an international consortium of 30 partners including the LDC. As part of its fully integrated drug discovery, LDC has cutting-edge expertise in medicinal chemistry including computational chemistry. Within the European Lead Factory the LDC will take part in the design of the novel public compound library by applying its industry-standard cheminformatics, design and medicinal chemistry know-how.

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Brussels/Leiden/Dortmund, 12 February 2013: LDC is Consortium Partner in €196 million backed European Lead Factory

Large pharmaceutical companies join forces with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and academia in an IMI-supported public private partnership (PPP) to enhance early drug discovery and so address the ever-increasing need for innovative therapeutics to tackle unmet medical needs.

The European Lead Factory, a novel platform for innovative drug discovery, was launched early February by an international consortium of 30 partners including the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC). LDC is an expert in the discovery and generation of small molecule lead series by translating basic research results in close collaboration with the academic partners into developable and commercially relevant assets and pharmaceutical application. As part of its fully integrated drug discovery, LDC has cutting-edge expertise in medicinal chemistry including computational chemistry. Within the European Lead Factory the LDC will take part in the design of the novel public compound library by applying its industry-standard cheminformatics, design and medicinal chemistry know-how.

Pharmaceutical companies have vast libraries of compounds which can be screened in the hunt for potential medicines. To date, access to these compound libraries was highly restricted. As part of the European Lead Factory, the 7 participating pharmaceutical companies will contribute at least 300 000 chemical compounds from their corporate chemical collections. A library of an estimated additional 200 000 novel compounds will be developed jointly by academia and SMEs. Together, the two libraries will form a Joint European Compound Collection consisting of up to half a million compounds that will be accessible to all project partners and to public organisations offering promising new targets for drug discovery screening. These target proposals will be selected through competitive calls.

An equally important part of the European Lead Factory is the European Screening Centre, which will assist public contributors of novel targets in the development of tests amenable to the requirements of industrialised screening methodology. Both the sites in Scotland and the Netherlands will run state of the art facilities for compound logistics and high throughput screening to respectively handle the 500 000-strong compound library and to evaluate new compounds that are active against the novel targets.

The total budget for the project amounts to around €196 million. Of this, €80 million comes from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7), and €91 million is provided as in kind contributions from the participating companies that are members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The remaining €25 million comes from other contributions from the non-EFPIA participants.

IMI Executive Director Michel Goldman commented: ‘IMI is very excited by the launch of the European Lead Factory. This unique project is an excellent example of how a public-private partnership can transform the way in which the pharmaceutical sector identifies new medicines. For the first time, it will give European researchers unprecedented access to industry chemical collections and facilitate the translation of their findings into actual treatments for patients. This project will not only advance the chances of success in the discovery of new medicines by European researchers, but also add value by building research capacity in Europe.’

‘The European Lead Factory is an unprecedented innovative model in early drug discovery combining strengths of academia and industry. It is exciting for us to participate in this seminal public private partnership and to contribute our expertise to the success of this ambitious project. ’ says Peter Nussbaumer, Managing Director of the LDC.

Bayer HealthCare will be the coordinator from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) for this IMI project. The Netherlands based non-profit organization TI Pharma will facilitate the overall scientific governance of this new project and is heading the European Consortium’s Screening efforts. Taros Chemicals is heading the European consortium’s chemistry effort.

About the Innovative Medicines Initiative
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is the world’s largest public-private partnership in health. IMI is improving the environment for pharmaceutical innovation in Europe by engaging and supporting networks of industrial and academic experts in collaborative research projects. The European Union contributes €1 billion to the IMI research programme, and this is matched by in kind contributions worth at least another €1 billion from the member companies of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The Innovative Medicines Initiative currently supports 40 projects, many of which are already producing impressive results. The projects all address major bottlenecks in drug development, and so will accelerate the development of safer and more effective treatments for patients. 

Notes to Editors

The research leading to these results has received support from the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking under grant agreement n° 115489, resources of which are composed of financial contribution from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) and EFPIA companies’ in kind contribution.’

Project partners

EFPIA companies

 

Bayer Pharma AG, Germany

AstraZeneca AB, Sweden

H. Lundbeck A/S, Denmark

Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, a Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson, Belgium

Merck KGaA, Germany

Sanofi, Germany

UCB Pharma SA, Belgium

Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups

Foundation Top Institute Pharma (Stichting Top Instituut Pharma), the Netherlands
Leiden University, the Netherlands
Max Planck Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften E.V., Germany
Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Stichting Het Nederlands Kanker Instituut, the Netherlands
Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
Universität Duisburg-Essen, Germany
University of Dundee, UK
University of Groningen, the Netherlands
University of Leeds, UK
University of Nottingham, UK
University of Oxford, UK
VU-University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

SMEs

BioCity Scotland Ltd, UK
ChemAxon, Hungary
Edelris S.A.S, France
Gabo:Mi Gesellschaft fur Ablauforganisation:Milliarium Mbh & Co Kg, Germany
Lead Discovery Center GmbH, Germany
Mercachem B.V., the Netherlands
Pivot Park Screening Centre B.V, the Netherlands
Sygnature Discovery Limited, UK
Syncom, the Netherlands
Taros Chemicals GmbH & Co KG, Germany

Friday January 25th, 2013
LDC forms Drug Discovery alliance with AstraZeneca
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LDC forms Drug Discovery alliance with AstraZeneca

The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and AstraZeneca have joined forces to discover new medicines for the treatment of human diseases with high unmet medical need. Through a two-year collaboration, AstraZeneca will add 250,000 high-quality compounds to LDC’s internal screening collection to pursue projects in the areas of oncology, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and infection research.

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Dortmund, January 25, 2013 – The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and AstraZeneca have joined forces to discover new medicines for the treatment of human diseases with high unmet medical need. Through a two-year collaboration, AstraZeneca will add 250,000 high-quality compounds to LDC’s internal screening collection to pursue projects in the areas of oncology, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and infection research.

The LDC will identify compounds from the combined collection that show activity against a portfolio of high-potential targets carefully selected by LDC from its broad range of academic partner institutions, including members of the Max Planck Society, Germany’s leading basic research organization. A joint steering committee will oversee the collaboration and review the output. LDC will take the most promising compounds into further drug discovery by optimizing them into pharmaceutical leads with in vivo proof-of-concept. AstraZeneca will have a preferred right to obtain a license for pre-clinical and clinical development and commercialization. Terms will be agreed individually to ensure a fair balance of investments, risks and potential returns between the partners.

Steve Rees, VP of Screening Sciences at AstraZeneca, commented: “The collaboration with LDC is part of an ongoing strategy to establish close relationships with leading academic drug discovery centres to support the generation of quality lead series for important and novel drug targets. We believe that the sharing of industry and academic expertise in precompetitive collaborations will greatly enhance the ability to bring novel drug targets into pharmaceutical discovery.”

Dr Bert Klebl, CEO of the LDC, adds: “We maintain a long-term relationship with AstraZeneca as a member of LDC’s Industrial Advisory Board. Getting access to this collection of high-quality screening compounds will now further increase the chances of success of our early drug discovery projects. This deal takes our partnership to the next level where our combined resources, expertise, and capabilities will accelerate the translation of academic findings into new medicines.”

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About the LDC
The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) was established in 2008 by the technology transfer organization Max Planck Innovation, as a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need.
With a world-class team of interdisciplinary scientists, drug discovery experts, pharmacologists and seasoned project managers, 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 further growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

Contacts
Lead Discovery Center
Thomas Hegendörfer
T. +49.231.97 42 70 02
E. hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

AstraZeneca
Florian Dieckmann
T. +49 (0)4103 708 3720
E. Florian.Dieckmann@astrazeneca.com

Monday January 21st, 2013
Alliance of Translational Research Centres Established to Accelerate Global Drug Development
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Alliance of Translational Research Centres Established to Accelerate Global Drug Development

Six of the world’s top translational health research centres today announced that they have come together to form a new Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres. The aim of this alliance is to strengthen the international academic and/or not-for-profit drug development and commercialization network to ultimately improve the rate at which academic research is translated into new medicines.

The founding organizations are:
•    Lead Discovery Center (LDC), Germany
•    The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada
•    The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Florida, United States
•    The Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3), KU Leuven, Belgium
•    Medical Research Council Technology, United Kingdom
•    Cancer Research Technology, United Kingdom

www.drugdevelopmentalliance.org

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London, United Kingdom and Dortmund – January 21, 2013 –  Six of the world’s top translational health research centres today announced that they have come together to form a new Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres. The aim of this alliance is to strengthen the international academic and/or not-for-profit drug development and commercialization network to ultimately improve the rate at which academic research is translated into new medicines.

The founding organizations are:
•    The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada
•    Lead Discovery Center (LDC), Germany
•    The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Florida, United States
•    The Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3), KU Leuven, Belgium
•    Medical Research Council Technology, United Kingdom
•    Cancer Research Technology, United Kingdom

All member organizations are fully-integrated translational centres capable of professionally advancing drug discovery projects along the value chain from idea to drug candidate with proof-of-concept.  Together, they represent close to 400 experienced drug developers collaborating with tens of thousands of academic scientists around the globe on over 165 highly innovative therapeutic projects targeting significant unmet medical needs. For the biopharmaceutical industry, they represent a major source of innovation. Numerous alliances with many of the industry’s leading global companies have been established to develop resulting drug candidates further and ultimately make them available to patients.

Through this Alliance, member organizations will collaborate on mutually-beneficial projects, share best practices, expertise and resources, and develop common standards and performance measurements – ultimately working together to improve the conversion of global early-stage technology into much needed therapies.

Karimah Es Sabar, President and CEO of CDRD commented, “We see a multitude of translational research initiatives around the world, but until now, these have for the most part, worked in isolation of one another. This Alliance will be a powerful vehicle in bringing such organizations together, leveraging one another’s strengths, and ultimately making for a much more effective global translational research environment.”

Dr. Bert Klebl, Managing Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Lead Discovery Centre added, “This Alliance of outstanding Drug Discovery Centres will help us to accelerate the translation of academic results into new therapies around the globe. By joining forces and sharing complementary expertise and infrastructure, we will be even more effective in closing the gap between basic research and industry to the benefit of patients.”

For additional information on the Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres, please visit: www.drugdevelopmentalliance.org

Contacts:
Thomas Hegendörfer
Head of Business Development
Lead Discovery Center (LDC)
hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

or

Barry Gee
Director, Communications
The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
bgee@cdrd.ca