Examples of successful spin-offs from the NGFN

Funding within the framework of the NGFN has essentially contributed to the formation of 13 industrial establishments, 10 of these being still active. The companies mentioned below display a range of successful spin-offs from the NGFN.

Sciomics GmbH was founded as a spin-off company of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) by Dr. Christoph Schröder und Dr. Jörg Hoheisel in spring 2013. Sciomics offers a complete analysis service for blood or tissue samples by means of antibody microarrays. This allows efficient measuring of complete signaling pathways or up-/downstream elements of a protein of interest in the same sample. Beyond profiling studies, antibody microarrays constitute a valuable instrument for the identification and verification of potential biomarker candidates. Thus for example, a biomarker signature for a non-invasive diagnosis of the pancreatic carcinoma has been identified, which is currently developed further.

Yumab provides antibodies generated by in vitro selection, custom made against any target. The technology works without animal experiments. It is based on a comprehensive antigen library. The Yumab GmbH was founded in 2012 by NGFN scientist Professor Dr. Stefan Dübel from the University Braunschweig, and others, succeeding directly the SMP "Antibody Factory" of the second funding period of NGFN.

Eupheria Biotech GmbH produces siRNAs for highly specific gene silencing which are used for high-throughput functional analysis. The company was founded as spin-off from the Max Planck Institute for molecular cell biology and genetics in Dresden by NGFN scientist Professor Dr. Frank Buchholz and others. The underlying esiRNA technology has been developed with NGFN funding. By means of this technology, for example a biomarker for the congenital spastic spinal paralysis could be identified which now is counted among the standard diagnosis repertoire.

Sividon Diagnostics was founded in 2010 by the former research site Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics. Sividon provides diagnostic tests for improving the therapeutic choice in breast cancer. Research results of the NGFN scientists Assistant Professor Dr. Marcus Schmidt und Professor Dr. Jan G. Hengstler have largely contributed to the development of the product „EndoPredict“. This test is used to provide additional decision support as to whether chemotherapy is necessary or not.

Alacris Theranostics GmbH, founded in 2008, specializes in the development of new approaches for personalized medicine for cancer patients. Alacris Theranostics applies a systems biology approach, named ModCellTM, that was originally developed at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin by Prof. Lehrach’s research team. Based on the genetic profiles of patients and on mutation and drug databases, ModCellTM provides a ‘Virtual Patient’ model. This Virtual Patient model can predict the effect of drug treatment and thus provides the means for cancer patient stratification.

The mAb-factory GmbH was co-founded in 2007 by Professor Dr. Stefan Dübel, University of Braunschweig. The technology for the production of the recombinant monoclonal antibodies provided by the company had been developed in the framework of NGFN funding. In cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry, currently numerous therapeutic antibodies are in preclinical development.

ToposNomos Ltd. is a spin-off company of the University of Magdeburg founded in spring 2006 based on NGFN funded studies conducted by Professor Dr. Walter Schubert. ToposNomos Ltd. provides the Imaging Cycler® technology enabling the simultaneous coverage of hundreds of thousand protein complexes directly in a cell or tissue, in other words the deciphering of the toponom, the molecular networks of the cell. This allows the detection of pathological protein networks and possible key target proteins for drugs. Thus, for example, biomarkers for neuroblastoma could be identified. Currently, a clinical study is being conducted for the therapy of a monogenetic disease through inversion of the genotypic toponome code (by means of a small molecule detected by ToposNomos Technology). The corresponding mouse model shows complete remission.

PLS-Design GmbH, co-founded in 2004 by NGFN scientist Professor Dr. Markus Ollert, develops products for the standardization of allergy tests as well as for the improvement of diagnostics and therapy of allergies to insect venom by means of recombinant allergens. In 2013, the company is still closely cooperating with the NGFN: The NGFN funded German Mouse Clinic (GMC) is analyzing the efficiency of innovations of PLS-Design in established mouse models in a „Drug Screening Pipeline“ to pursue the inventions to the point of proof-of-principle. 

CONARIS Research Institute AG was founded in 1999 by Professor Dr. Stefan Schreiber und Dr. Dirk Seegert as a spin-off company of the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH). The company’s focus is on the preclinical and early clinical development of innovative agents for the therapy of inflammatory diseases. Since the start of NGFN, promising innovative products from the academic field of NGFN have been picked up in order to transfer them into application, as for example the acquisition of the property rights on the anti-inflammatory fusion protein „sgp130Fc“.
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