Innovations and products

Max Planck Innovation has accompanied over 4,600 inventions from the various Max Planck Institutes and concluded more than 2,800 commercial contracts. Some of these projects have already reached market maturity. We have summarized certain examples from the various industries for you.

Cold plasma against chronic wounds

Cold plasma treatment reduces the use of antibiotics or cortisone and does not cause allergic side effects or pain. The plasma care® product line developed by terraplasma medical GmbH for this purpose, which uses cold atmospheric plasma in medical technology, is to be expanded further in the future.© terraplasma medical

New hope is here for patients with open wounds: plasma care® products from the medical technology company terraplasma medical GmbH kill fungi and bacteria - including those that are largely resistant to antibiotics - in chronic but also acute wounds without damaging skin tissue.

Nobel Prize Chemistry: Excellent products for research and science

STED mikroscope by Leica Microsystems (© Leica Microsystems)

Stefan W. Hell, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His inventions in the field of high-resolution microscopy have already been translated into successful products and are used in biological and medical research.

FLASH: Fast imaging in resonance imaging

Prof. Dr. Jens Frahm at the MRI scanner (© MPI for biophysical chemistry)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become a routine procedure used all over the world for examining the inner organs of patients. It is non-invasive and has the advantage over X-ray imaging that patients are not exposed to radiation. Thanks to the FLASH technology (Fast Low Angle Shot) which was invented by Jens Frahm and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, MRI is the most important imaging method in clinical diagnostics today. A recently by Mr. Frahm developed extension now even allows real-time movies from the inside of the body and is currently being tested for use in the clinic.

RNA interference: Therapy by switching off genes

RNAi therapeutic for the treatment of the polyneuropathy of hereditary transthyretin-mediated (hATTR) amyloidosis in adults (© Alnylam)

RNA interference (RNAi) is the natural gene-silencing process that arises in numerous organisms ranging from plants to mammals. This mechanism controls the expression of individual genes in a cell. The expression or conversion of genes into proteins can be influenced with the help of the RNAi procedure developed by Thomas Tuschl and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. This enables the switching off of specific genes so that the information they contain is not passed on. The procedure thus represents a very promising approach to the treatment of various diseases, such as metabolic disorders and cancer. Since 2018 Alnylam´s ONPATTRO©is the first RNAi drug on the market worldwide. In 2019 Alnylam received another FDA approval for its drug Givlaari© (Givosiran). In 2020, Oxlumo© (Lumasiran) was approved as the third drug in the USA and Europe. In 2022 finally an approval for AMVUTTRA™ (vutrisiran) followed.

Sutent®: New cancer treatment

Der Umsatz von Sutent beläuft sich auf über 1 Mrd. USD pro Jahr (© designoliman)

Sutent® is a cancer drug with a specifc mechanism of action: by simultaneously blocking several molecular targets (so-called multi-specificity) of essential importance for the onset of cancer it addresses the complexity of tumorigenesis in a very efficient manner.

targenomix: Development of new plant varieties

© MPI for molecular plant physiology

Prof. Dr. Lothar Willmitzer and his fellow scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology play a leading role in the research of signaling pathways and metabolic processes in plant cells. Their work is not only essential for basic research; it also has great economic importance, as it contributes to the development of new plant varieties.

Silicon based X-ray detectors: mobile instruments for materials research

In the Semiconductor Laboratory of the Max Planck Society in Munich, scientists from the Max Planck Institutes for Physics and for Extraterrestrial Physics are developing detectors based on silicon chips, among them highly sensitive X-ray detectors for astrophysics as well as so-called tracking detectors able to track the paths of particles in particle accelerators.

Strep-tag technology: simple protein purification

Worldwide, tons of proteins are produced in so-called fermenters by bacteria and other microorganisms on a daily basis in labs and production sites. However, separation and purification of the desired protein is costly and time consuming. The Strep-tag technology invented by Prof. Dr Arne Skerra and Dr Thomas Schmidt at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt enables the separation and purification of a desired protein in a single step.

Novel ceramic pigments: vibrant colours, stable and ecological

© David Clode on Unsplash

Ceramic pigments are widely used, usually as fine particles, as colourings for paint, plastics, and other materials. However there still is strong demand for pigments with high brilliancy that are also inexpensive, resistant to light and heat, non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Ti-Plasmid: Targeted plant breeding

© Jeppe Vadgaard on Unsplash

The so-called Ti-Plasmid (Ti stands for tumour-inducing) is a small, circular DNA molecule common among bacterial pests in plants (e.g. Agrobacterium tumefaciens). The bacteria transfer the plasmid into plant cells resulting in genetic modifications that trigger the development of plant tumours. In the 1970s, Prof. Dr Marc van Montagu and Prof. Dr Jozef Schell of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne developed the concept of using the Ti-Plasmid to introduce novel genes into plants by replacing the gene responsible for tumour development with the desired gene.

STR-technology: DNA analysis of minute samples

© Pixabay

The short tandem repeat (STR) technology was invented as a novel DNA analysis method at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, by Prof. Dr Diethard Tautz and Prof. Dr Herbert Jäckle. It is used worldwide for identity determination in paternity tests or in criminalistics.