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

Monday October 6th, 2014
LDC and UiT The Arctic University of Norway Collaborate to Discover New Medicines from the Arctic Ocean
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LDC and UiT The Arctic University of Norway Collaborate to Discover New Medicines from the Arctic Ocean

The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), a renowned translational research organization, and UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) have teamed up to discover new medicines from the marine arctic environment. The partners will focus on human diseases with high unmet medical need.

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Dortmund, Germany and Tromsø, Norway, October 06, 2014 – The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), a renowned translational research organization, and UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) have teamed up to discover new medicines from the marine arctic environment. The partners will focus on human diseases with high unmet medical need.

UiT has gathered unique natural product libraries from all kinds of organisms living in the Arctic Sea, an unparalleled source for bioactives highly interesting for drug discovery. The extreme conditions in the Arctic Sea have sparked the evolution of diverse marine organisms containing numerous as yet unknown compounds.
“These bioactives clearly have great potential, and I am extremely pleased to exploit their value for the discovery of new therapies, together with the UiT”, comments Dr Bert Klebl, CEO of the LDC. “Moreover, we are very much looking forward to becoming the UiT’s partner for advancing their projects to the stage of validated pharmaceutical leads.”

 Under the terms of the agreement, the LDC may use the UiT library for screening purposes using targets sourced from its academic network. In addition, the partners intend to initiate joint drug discovery and development projects based on UiT targets. The partners will cooperate closely from the target selection stage through to the commercialization of resulting leads, with the UiT contributing project-specific expertise, its libraries and financial resources, and the LDC adding its comprehensive drug discovery and development know-how, together with its first-tier industry network. Potential revenues from commercialization will be shared between the partners. The collaboration is initially planned for a period of five years.
“We are very privileged to team up with such a prestigious and renowned R&D organization, which has an impressive track record.” says Dean at the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics, UiT, Edel Elvevoll. “The collaboration with LDC significantly increases our ability to discover and develop drugs based on organisms from the Arctic environment.”

About UiT
UiT is the northernmost university in the world comprising 12.000 students and 2800 staff. Quality education within all classical subject areas is offered. As an expert on the Arctic, much of the research is linked to the challenges and opportunities in the high north, and UiT is dedicated to create and disseminate cutting-edge knowledge on the Arctic regions, including marine biosdicovery research.
The successful 130 million NOK marine biodiscovery project, MabCent-SFI, was initiated in 2007. Along with project partners, including the Institute of Marine Research, a huge library/bank of marine arctic organisms and compounds has been established. The research has firmly placed UiT and Tromsø on the biodiscovery map and the project has generated several promising hits.

Further information at: www.uit.no and MabCent

Contact
Thomas Hegendörfer
T. +49.231.97 42 70 02
E. hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de
Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Otto-Hahn-Straße 15
44227 Dortmund
Germany

Tuesday September 30th, 2014
LDC Enters First Collaboration with the Helmholtz Association
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LDC Enters First Collaboration with the Helmholtz Association

New cancer therapy approach from the German Cancer Consortium

The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), a renowned translational research organization, and the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s biggest scientific organization, will be collaborating more closely in future. An initial pilot project in cooperation with Prof. Schulte’s research group at the DKTK partner site Essen/Dusseldorf has just been launched. Together with the LDC, they will be developing a novel cancer therapy approach with the aim of identifying new drug candidates for the treatment of neuroblastoma and other cancer types.

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Dortmund, September 30, 2014 – The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), a renowned translational research organization, and the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s biggest scientific organization, will be collaborating more closely in future. An initial pilot project in cooperation with Prof. Schulte’s research group at the DKTK partner site Essen/Dusseldorf has just been launched. Together with the LDC, they will be developing a novel cancer therapy approach with the aim of identifying new drug candidates for the treatment of neuroblastoma and other cancer types.

Neuroblastomas are one of the most frequently occurring tumours in childhood and adolescence. The DKTK’s new approach is the first to tackle the root cause of the disease. It’s based on a target structure that, by interacting with microRNAs, interferes with the regulation of genes playing an important role in neuroblastoma development.

‘If we are successful in bringing this approach to the clinic, it will make a big difference to affected children and their parents,’ says Prof. Schulte. ‘The LDC is a great Partner. It gives us the chance to move the project from our laboratories into pharmaceutical development.’

As part of the cooperation, the partners intend to identify and validate initial drug candidates from LDC’s compound library. In parallel, the LDC will use its industry contacts to win potential pharmaceutical partners in good time for subsequent clinical development.

The LDC and the Helmholtz Association already have their sights set on further collaborations. In order to translate innovative approaches into application, the Helmholtz Association is supporting selected projects via the Helmholtz Validation Fund (HVF).

‘Alongside the support given by our internal start-up and validation instruments, we want to enable the use of established transfer models such as the LDC, which was initiated by Max Planck Innovation GmbH,’ says Dr Rolf Zettl, Managing Director of the Helmholtz Association. ‘Wherever it is possible to bring critical mass together and exploit synergies in the German science system, we should be using cross-organization technology transfer initiatives like this one. And in the case of the highly specialized LDC, it’s clear that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.’

The Helmholtz Association is Germany’s biggest scientific organization, comprising several centres internationally recognized for their top-level health research, including the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the DKTK’s core centre.

 

‘We are delighted to count the Helmholtz Association among our research partners, alongside the Max Planck Society. Thanks to their particular strength in the biomedical area, they provide numerous project ideas offering very promising approaches for application-oriented drug discovery,’ comments Dr Bert Klebl, Managing Director and CSO of the LDC.

About the Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major and urgent issues in society, science and industry through scientific excellence in six research areas: Energy, earth and environment, health, key technologies, structure of matter as well as aviation, aerospace and transportation. The Helmholtz Association is the largest scientific organization in Germany, with 35,000 employees in 18 research centres and an annual budget of around €3.8 billion. Its work is carried out in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894).

Further information at: www.helmholtz.de

About the DKTK

In the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) joins up with university hospitals all over Germany. Assembled around a core at the DKFZ in Heidelberg, the consortium unites twenty high-ranked institutes from seven partner sites: Berlin, Dresden, Essen/Dusseldorf, Frankfurt/Mainz, Freiburg, Munich and Tubingen, all specialized in research and treatment focused on oncological diseases. The DKTK was found to promote translational research, bringing together scientists, physicians and associates to work jointly toward the main goal of enhancing the translation of research from bench to bedside. New approaches in prevention, diagnostics and treatment will be applied to cancer in common translational centers at all partner sites. Patients will be recruited at all partner sites for innovative studies to be carried out by the consortium as a whole. All the data from this work will be collected in a universal system. The harmonization of techniques and methods used in laboratories will ensure identical standards for all researchers and physicians in the consortium. A joint infrastructure will make them available for communal research. With the school of oncology, the consortium is additionally dedicating itself to the education of new physicians and scientists. Talented young people will be trained in cancer medicine and translational cancer research in a common effort involving all members. The German Cancer Consortium is a joint initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the participating German states, German Cancer Aid and the German Cancer Research Center. It is one of the six German Centers for Health Research (DZG).

Further information at: www.dkfz.de/de/dktk

Wednesday April 16th, 2014
LDC Forms Early Drug Discovery Alliance with Daiichi Sankyo
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LDC Forms Early Drug Discovery Alliance with Daiichi Sankyo

Utilizing shared compound libraries for novel LDC targets

The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), a renowned translational research organization, and Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. (hereafter, Daiichi Sankyo), Japan, have teamed up to discover new medicines for the treatment of disease with high unmet medical needs. The partners will focus on targeted disease areas and novel mechanisms of strategic interest to Daiichi Sankyo, including oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

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Dortmund, April 16, 2014 – The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), a renowned translational research organization, and Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. (hereafter, Daiichi Sankyo), Japan, have teamed up to discover new medicines for the treatment of disease with high unmet medical needs. The partners will focus on targeted disease areas and novel mechanisms of strategic interest to Daiichi Sankyo, including oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Through an initial two-year period of collaboration, LDC will identify promising novel targets from its pan-European network of leading universities and research organizations including members of the Max Planck Society. Individual projects selected by Daiichi Sankyo will be screened by LDC using its own collection of some 200,000 high-quality compounds plus an additional 70,000 compounds contributed from Daiichi Sankyo’s corporate Pharma Space Library to generate innovative starting points for joint drug discovery projects. In addition, LDC will be responsible for assay development and hit validation. Daiichi Sankyo will contribute by research funding as well as in-kind support e.g. through its library.

For each collaboration project, Daiichi Sankyo will have a preferred option to enter into a follow-up drug discovery collaboration with LDC for taking promising compounds jointly forward up to the stage of a pharmaceutical lead.

“Daiichi Sankyo is a recognized leader in the development and supply of innovative pharmaceutical products, and we are very pleased to have them on board as our first partner from Japan,” said Dr Bert Klebl, Managing Director of LDC. “We very much appreciate their willingness to get involved in projects at a very early stage. With our combined expertise and resources we are perfectly positioned to accelerate the discovery of drug candidates based on exciting novel targets from our academic network and transform them into new medicines for diseases with high unmet medical needs.”

Tuesday April 15th, 2014
HDC Celebrates Re-opening of Altana/Nycomed HTS Labs with Open Day
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HDC Celebrates Re-opening of Altana/Nycomed HTS Labs with Open Day

The newly founded screening services provider HDC celebrates the re-opening of the former Altana/Nycomed’s HTS and compound logistics facility with numerous guests from industry and academics.

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15.04.2014 –The newly founded screening services provider HDC celebrates the re-opening of the former Altana/Nycomed’s HTS and compound logistics facility with numerous guests from industry and academics.

More than hundred guests from Germany, Europe and Japan were invited to an open day of the Hit Discovery Constance (HDC) GmbH on the former Altana/Nycomed premises in Constance. At the symposium, expert representatives from European pharmaceutical companies like Lorenz Mayer from Astra Zeneca, Ingo Kober from Merck Serono, Julio Martin from GSK, and Henning Steinhagen from Gruenenthal were presenting talks covering themes around innovation in life sciences and high throughput screening. The participants from industry and academia, like the University of Constance, or the Max-Planck-Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, used the reception with finger food and cocktails as a chance for informal networking and information exchange.

During guided lab tours, prospective customers had the opportunity to have a closer look at the re-opened facilities. The three modern high-throughput screening stations and a fully integrated compound logistics infrastructure with a capacity of more than 20 million probes at -20°C had been designed and planned at times when Altana Pharma, and later Nycomed, were active on the premises, and still had ambitious plans. This infrastructure complemented by the HDC with a screening library of 240 000 small molecules, which had been compiled according to latest medicinal chemistry design principles, and inspired by the longstanding screening experience of the mother companies.

The services offered by the HDC comprise assay development, HTS with conventional biochemical, cellular and radiometric readouts, phenotypic screening by high-content imaging, as well as storage and management of large sample collections. “We are in a position to offer unique readout technologies, as the screening stations had been designed by physicists, rather than by engineers.” says Jan Eickhoff, one of the managing directors of the HDC.

In 2006, Altana Pharma in Constance had been taken over by the multinational pharmaceutical company Nycomed. In May 2011, Nycomed was purchased by the Japanese pharma giant Takeda for 9.6 billion €. Soon afterwards, Takeda began restructuring the site in Constance. Research units were shut down, and the sales department was relocated. The HDC now reopens the existing screening- and compound management labs, including key personnel. HDC is a joint venture effort between the two renowned translational research centers Lead Discovery Center (Dortmund/Germany) and Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3, KULeuven, Leuven/Belgium) as well as the established Italian research and discovery services provider Axxam (Milan).

Tuesday January 14th, 2014
Hit Discovery Constance GmbH: a new European hub for HTS and compound management
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Hit Discovery Constance GmbH: a new European hub for HTS and compound management

Today Hit Discovery Constance GmbH (“HDC”), a new joint venture organisation between Lead Discovery Center (Dortmund/Germany), Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3, KULeuven, Leuven/Belgium) and Axxam (Milan/Italy) has started its operation. The new company is based in Constance (Germany) and will make use of the already established equipment and know-how of the former Takeda/Nycomed/Altana screening and compound management facilities at the site.

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Constance (Germany), January 14th, 2014 – Today Hit Discovery Constance GmbH (“HDC”), a new joint venture organisation between Lead Discovery Center (Dortmund/Germany), Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3, KULeuven, Leuven/Belgium) and Axxam (Milan/Italy) has started its operation. The new company is based in Constance (Germany) and will make use of the already established equipment and know-how of the former Takeda/Nycomed/Altana screening and compound management facilities at the site.

HDC is a service oriented company which provides high quality drug discovery research services to the Life Science industry and academic or research institutions.
The offering includes assay development, High Throughput Screening (“HTS”) using radiometric formats, as well as conventional biochemical and cellular assay formats, automated High Content Screening (“HCS”) and Biosafety level 2 (BSL2) HTS. HDC’s labs are equipped with three state-of-the-art screening stations, a Screening Collection of 240.000 compounds and offer a REMP-based compound storage & handling facility which allows high quality storage and high throughput compound picking activities. Combined with Axxam`s already established HTS services and compound storage facilities, HDC represent one of the largest screening hubs worldwide.

Stefan Lohmer, Chief Executive Officer at Axxam, commented “today`s opening of HDC, excellently positioned in the middle of Europe, is a further important strategic expansion for our service business, perfectly complementing our existing offers by providing the next level of compound management combined with fully automated Radiometric and High Content Screening, thereby responding to the increasing demands for these screening technologies. Now for all the different targets of interest, the most suitable assay format can be chosen, developed and screened”.

“The availability of such HTS and compound management hub also for academic and translational research activities is a significant step forward for the European research community and will boost drug discovery and chemical biology programs significantly in terms of timelines as well as the quality of the hit compounds identified in a screening operation. We are very happy to revive this research site in Constance which has a long-standing history in successful drug discovery”, added Bert Klebl, Managing Director at LDC.
Patrick Chaltin, Managing Director at CD3, is very pleased with the collaborative effort and joint venture spirit between the partners which has led to the establishment of the HDC. “With HDC, a new fully automated HTS centre is available for industry as well as for academic and research institutions which can become an important player in the increasing translational drug discovery efforts”.

About Lead Discovery Center
Lead Discovery Center (LDC) is a translational drug discovery company which takes on promising early-stage projects and collaboratively transforms them with its academic partners into innovative pharmaceutical leads with proof-of-concept in animal.
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 centres around the globe. For more information: www.lead-discovery.de.

About CD3
The Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3) is a technology transfer platform and investment fund focusing on the discovery and development of innovative medicines for all kinds of diseases. By providing the necessary drug expertise and financial resources, CD3 ensures that biomedical research carried out by universities and small biotech companies is translated into starting points for  promising new medicines.  Subsequently, such new potential medicines can then be further developed by pharma or biotech industry or can form the basis for the establishment of new biotechs. CD3 was set up at the end of 2006 by KU Leuven Research & Development and the European Investment Fund (EIF). For more information: www.cd3.eu.

About Axxam
Axxam is a privately owned contract research and discovery company. The Company has developed a proven track record as a third party research and discovery services provider for the life science industry, including pharma, biotech, crop protection, animal health, cosmetics and nutrition. In addition, Axxam conducts several drug discovery programs for selected targets which are carried out in partnership with other companies or non-profit organizations. For more information: www.axxam.com.

For more information on HDC:

Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Dr. Jan Eickhoff
t: +49 231 9742 7005
e: eickhoff@lead-discovery.de
    
CD3
Stefaan Allemeersch
t: +32 2 16852602
e: stefaan.allemeersch@cistim.be
    
Axxam SpA
Dr. Doris Hafenbradl
t:  +39 02 2105680
e: doris.hafenbradl.dh@axxam.com