May 02, 2018

Eleven million euros for Dortmund alliance for the development of new lead compounds

Innovative network of eight partners for North Rhine-Westphalia.

Drug Discovery Hub Dortmund (DDHD) is the name of the new initiative at the Zentrum für integrierte Wirkstoffforschung (ZIW) of the TU Dortmund University (TU), which got started on 1 April 2018. Scientists from eight institutions combine their manifold expertise to develop an infrastructure for drug discovery in North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to the TU Dortmund, the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Physiology (MPI), the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), the Leibniz-Institut für Analytische Wissenschaften - ISAS - e.V., the Taros GmbH & Co. KG, the PROvendis GmbH, the BioMedizinZentrum Dortmund (BMZ), and the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) are participating.

The project has a total volume of 11 million euros over a 3-year-period. It is funded in the scope of the Forschungsinfrastrukturen NRW Program (NRW research infrastructures) of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia with funds from the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE). The DDHD is to bridge the critical innovation gap between basic academic research and industrial application. Since the process of drug discovery is extremely complex, it requires an interdisciplinary cooperation of many different scientific specialist fields. Thus, the eight partners form a unique and well-proven network at the Dortmund site.

The DDHD acts as an incubator for drug discovery projects throughout North Rhine-Westphalia. In cooperation with the patent marketing organisation PROvendis, results of excellent basic drug discovery are to be translated into economic projects. Innovative findings made in basic academic research are to be transformed into lead substances compatible with industrial expectations, which specifically means that compounds are multiparametric optimised so that they fully comply with the high pharmaceutical standards. The molecular lead compounds will be available for further in depth scientific studies. In case of success, the projects are then transferred to the pharmaceutical industry and developed to marketability. Alternatively, individual projects may be transferred to spin-offs for further development. The source for such drug discovery projects are the universities and academic institutions of North Rhine-Westphalia.

“We are very pleased about the funding which enables the building of a unique infrastructure and the implementation of innovative projects“, states Prof. Daniel Rauh, DDHD Coordinator and Professor for Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry at the TU Dortmund University. “In its capacity as an integrative initiative, the DDHD represents the scientific competence area of “Biomedicine and Drug Discovery” of the Dortmund Science Masterplan. It plays an important role in the strengthening of Dortmund as a biotechnology location and as an innovation center in North Rhine-Westphalia. Together with complementing projects, such as „Medicinal Chemistry in Dortmund“, funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the DDHD emphasises the national importance of Dortmund as a location for early-stage drug discovery.”

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