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Yearbook 2019: Max Planck Innovation – The technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society
Every year, Max Planck Innovation evaluates an average of 120 inventions, with roughly half of these leading to a patent application. Since 1979, approximately 4,450 inventions have been accompanied and around 2,680 exploitation contracts have been concluded. Since the early 90s, 156 newly founded companies (spin-offs) have emerged from the Max Planck Society. Max Planck Innovation advised the vast majority of them. Over 6,000 jobs have been created in these spin-offs since then. Since 1979, MI has achieved a total turnover from license revenues and divestments of around 490 million euros.
LDC-associated company Quench Bio Closes USD 50M Series A Financing to Advance First-in-Class Medicines against Severe Inflammatory Diseases
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).
The human immune system can recognize and eliminate not only germs but also cancer cells. This is why treatments with weakened germs can help the immune system in its fight against cancer. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin have genetically modified the tuberculosis vaccine BCG in a way that it stimulates the immune system more specifically. Consequently, the new vaccine offers much greater protection against tuberculosis. A clinical study with patients suffering from cancer of the bladder has now shown that a therapy with VPM1002 could successfully prevent the recurrence of tumours in almost half of the patients who had not responded previously to the BCG therapy. The results could lead to the early approval of the drug for the treatment of cancer of the bladder so that as many patients as possible can profit from this quickly.
Tacalyx Raises €7 Million in Seed Funding to Generate First in Class Anti-TACA Antibodies for Cancer Treatment
Tacalyx, a biotech company focused on the discovery and development of novel anti-TACA (Tumor Associated Carbohydrate Antigens) cancer therapies, today announced that it has successfully secured €7 million in seed funding. The funding round involves a syndicate of leading European life science and technology investors co-led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Kurma Partners and joined by Idinvest Partners, High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), coparion, and Creathor Ventures.
Khanu Management GmbH (Khanu), a drug discovery focused fund management team, announces the successful launch of KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I), based in Dortmund, Germany.
Modag further develops drugs for multi-system atrophy and Parkinson’s disease. The protein alpha-synuclein is deposited in the brain of patients with Parkinson’s disease or multi-system atrophy at the onset of the disease. Oligomeric deposits have a particularly toxic effect on nerve cells. With a new patent for chemically modified drug candidates, Modag has now agreed upon another exclusive license with Max Planck Innovation, the technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society. The company is now testing the active ingredient anle138b for the treatment of multi-system atrophy and Parkinson’s disease. On the basis of the licensed technology, Modag is able to develop next-generation-molecules with pharmacological characteristics, which allow for alternative dose regimens and forms of application. The substances were developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen together with the University in Munich.
In 2008, the Max Planck Society launched the Lead Discovery Center (LDC) in Dortmund. The organization, which is now independent, picks up on the results of basic research and uses them to develop substances that can then be tested by license or cooperative partners in clinical studies with the aim of establishing whether they are suitable for use in drugs. Ten years after its establishment, the LDC can look back on some impressive results: one of its research projects has managed to make the leap to the clinical stage and is currently being tested in a phase 1b study; two others will be following soon. In all, the LDC has filed 23 patent applications and granted licenses to cooperative partners for research into 15 more substances.
Themis Bioscience Announces Exclusive Licensing Agreement with Max Planck Innovation to Develop and Commercialize Oncolytic Virotherapies
Themis announced today that it has entered into a license agreement with Max Planck Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer agency of the Max Planck Society in Germany, granting it exclusive worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize therapies based on an oncolytic measles virus platform that was jointly developed by the Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Alnylam Announces First-Ever FDA Approval of an RNAi Therapeutic, ONPATTRO™ (patisiran) for the Treatment of the Polyneuropathy of Hereditary Transthyretin-Mediated Amyloidosis in Adults Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. the leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ONPATTRO™ (patisiran) lipid complex injection, a first-of-its-kind RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic, for the treatment of the polyneuropathy of hereditary transthyretin-mediated (hATTR) amyloidosis in adults. ONPATTRO is the first and only FDA-approved treatment for this indication. The therapy is, among others, based on patented research findings from the Max Planck Society, which have exclusively been licensed to Alnylam by the technology transfer organization Max Planck Innovation. In addition to polyneuropathy, hATTR amyloidosis can lead to other significant disabilities including decreased ambulation with the loss of the ability to walk unaided, a reduced quality of life, and a decline in cardiac functioning. In the largest controlled study of hATTR amyloidosis, ONPATTRO was shown to improve polyneuropathy –with significant benefit on the neurological components of the disease in a majority of patients – and to improve a composite quality of life measure, reduce autonomic symptoms, and improve activities of daily living.
The BinNova Metal Fiber Technology GmbH company has licensed a technology from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, which makes it possible to produce micro-metal fibers that are extremely fine and, at the same time, extremely robust. Following the successful development of the research concept and a research facility by the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, the company will now begin developing a production facility and will very soon commence distribution of the innovative metal fibers and non-wovens.
The pharmaceutical company IBI (Istituto Biochimico Italiano Giovanni Lorenzini SpA) obtained a license from Max Planck Innovation for the use of Silibinin in the treatment of Cushing´s disease. Based on research findings from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry IBI aims to develop a non-invasive treatment option replacing conventional methods like pituitary surgery. IBI is now planning GLP preclinical trials and initiates orphan drug application.
Max Planck Society, Lead Discovery Center and Grünenthal enter into a research collaboration on Charcot-Marie-Tooth 1A (CMT1A)
Grünenthal, Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), Max-Planck Innovation and the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine (MPI-EM) have entered into a research collaboration to develop novel therapies for patients suffering from Charcot-Marie-Tooth 1A (CMT1A), an inherited neurological disorder. The collaboration combines the disease proficiency of MPI-EM, the drug discovery expertise of LDC and Grünenthal’s competency in drug discovery and development as well as pain management. The project’s scientific foundation was laid at MPI-EM by Michael Sereda, Klaus-Armin Nave and Moritz Rossner.
European Inventor Award for fast MRI in medical diagnostics: Jens Frahm wins in the category Research
With the European Inventor Award 2018, the European Patent Office (EPO) honored Jens Frahm of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen for his ground-breaking advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In two steps, the physicist and his team succeeded in speeding up MRI by a factor of up to 10,000 and established it in clinical practice.
ENVIRAL® acquires licence for smart pigments for environmentally friendly, sustainable anticorrosion coatings
The company ENVIRAL® Oberflächenveredelung GmbH has licensed a corrosion protection technology from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces based on recent developments in the field of nanotechnology. The new smart pigments for use in anticorrosion coatings have “self-healing” properties and increase the protective effect of coatings while improving their environmental compatibility. They are based on micro- and nanovessels that are filled with organic corrosion inhibitors and encapsulated in a polyelectrolyte shell. The tiny vessels can be added to paints without weakening the physical properties of the anticorrosion coating. Local pH changes due to the onset of corrosion causes the polyelectrolyte shell to swell and release the corrosion-inhibiting agents from the tiny vessels, thus nipping the corrosion reaction in the bud.
ProteoPlex has exclusively licensed a technology from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen and has launched the MacroDSF, an instrument aimed at helping research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations solve problems in structural biology. In addition, ProteoPlex has also gained access to additional technologies, including a novel protein purification process and an algorithm for determining the optimum stability parameters for macromolecular proteins.
Based on research by the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Ambiverse has developed a software application that can understand and analyze large volumes of text. The technology means that homonyms can be correctly interpreted, opening up corporate access to more relevant information on the Internet and improving access to information in their own data inventories.
Aircloak, a leader in the field of privacy enhancing technology received a $1.3M equity investment from Speedinvest and Constantia New Business with existing shareholders Max Planck Innovation and Elephant & Castle Capital joining the round. The “Aircloak Insights” solution, which allows companies worldwide to have GDPR compliance at a click, has been approved by the independent French data protection authority, CNIL, for all data types and use cases. Aircloak was founded in 2014 to commercialize and build on privacy protection research done at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems.
Venture capital fund BORN2GROW has invested in Stuttgart-based Venneos GmbH, a spin-off from Max Planck Society, in the current round of series A financing. The start-up is successfully developing and marketing the CAN-Q – a silicon chip-based imaging system for analysing biological cells.
Daiichi Sankyo, Max Planck Innovation and Lead Discovery Center Announce Cancer Research Collaboration
Daiichi Sankyo, Max Planck Innovation GmbH and the Lead Discovery Center GmbH have signed an agreement providing Daiichi Sankyo with the option to receive the exclusive rights to a new lead compound for the treatment of cancer to be discovered and developed at the Lead Discovery Center.
The company FluxPharm has acquired a licence for a chemical process developed at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam. Using flow chemistry technology, the researchers at the Institute can now produce a variety of standard ingredients with much greater efficiency and more cost-effectively than with conventional methods. FluxPharm now intends to develop the technology and make it commercially available. The development of this process will boost the future production of Efavirenz, an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the treatment of HIV. This in turn will mean that greater numbers of people in poor countries will have access to medications. The relevant negotiations with drug-producing companies are already at an advanced stage.
The Munich-based medical technology company terraplasma medical GmbH successfully completed the first round of major financing (seed). The raised money, a seven-figure Euro amount, will be used to develop plasma care and establish the market approval. This mobile, battery-powered medical device for in- and outpatient treatment of chronic and acute wounds using cold plasma, which destroys fungi and even multi-resistant bacteria, is based on research of the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics.
Cardior Pharmaceuticals today announced the completion of a €15 million series A financing round. Cardior is pioneering its proprietary RNA technology to revolutionize predicting and treating heart failure. The main technology is based on research from the Medical School Hannover (MHH) in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for biophysical chemistry in Göttingen, amongst others.
The technology transfer organisation of the Max Planck Society has come to an agreement with the US start-up company Lula Robotics to use a technology for “continuous motion optimization and control”. Based on the technique from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen Lula Robotics is developing robots, which can act independently in complex environments. The goal is to create the bedrock for artificial aides supporting people in everyday life in the future.
On 22 and 23 May, Max Planck Innovation will present two promising inventions at the BioVaria technology fair in Munich, one of which is a new therapy based on adult stem cells that makes continuous skin regeneration and the sustainable growth of new hair possible. An innovative diagnostic approach allows early non-invasive detection of lung cancer by means of a simple breath test. The technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society is looking for industrial partners at the fair to develop its patented technologies to market maturity.
The start-up company PreOmics licenses several technologies of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried for the preparation of samples for proteomic research through Max Planck Innovation. In particular, an innovative sample preparation kit facilitates the use of mass spectrometry for research into proteins. In the future this could open up new opportunities in pharmaceutical development and diagnostics.
The physicist Jens Frahm, head of Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of German Research. With this induction, ‘manager magazin’ is honouring the researcher for his pioneering further developments of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The FLASH technology he invented has made MRI today’s most important imaging method in clinical diagnostics and one which is used around the globe. An extension, which Frahm developed only recently, is now even enabling real-time recordings from the inside of the body, and is currently being tested for clinical use.
Under the motto "Building bridges, transcending borders", 23 start-up companies presented their research projects at the Falling Walls Venture science competition on 8 November in Berlin. The company nominated by Max Planck Innovation, Vaxxilon, emerged as the winner and was proclaimed the "Science Start-Up of the Year 2016" for its development of a carbohydrate-based agent. The new agent should make vaccinations against bacterial infections cheaper in the future and thereby also improve access to vaccines in poorer countries.
Light-sensitive proteins discovered by Max Planck scientists are changing the way scientists study how new drug candidates affect critical properties of heart and nerve cells. Researchers can incorporate light-sensitive channelrhodopsin proteins into model cells grown in miniature test tube arrays. Using an instrument developed by Photoswitch Biosciences Incorporated, these light-sensitive ion channels can then be used to control the function of other ion channels of interest. Monitoring tiny electrical changes in the cells allows researchers to screen chemical libraries for new drug candidates or to evaluate the safety of new drugs for use in humans.
STED microscopy is a Nobel Prize awarded technology that allows to create highly resolved fluorescence images far below the diffraction limit. Earlier this year, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen have proposed and demonstrated their new Protected STED concept which enhances the image contrast and reduces photobleaching in STED microscopy by up to an order of magnitude. It is expected that their invention will particularly boost life-cell and medical applications of STED microscopy.
The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), Max Planck Innovation GmbH and Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH have signed an agreement providing Boehringer Ingelheim with the option to receive the exclusive rights to a new lead compound for the treatment of schizophrenia to be discovered and developed at the LDC.
Max Planck Innovation together with six other new members reinforces the nationwide Verband für Wissens- und Technologietransfer (Federation for the Transfer of Knowledge and Technology) from German universities and research facilities. The country's largest network for the exploitation of research results from the German scientific community offers industry access to Germany´s largest pool of patented high technology.
Venneos GmbH is based in Stuttgart and develops a novel imaging system for the analysis of biological cells. A consortium of business angels and family offices, along with the High-Tech Gründerfonds and Max Planck Society invest in the company to develop a market-ready product and prepare the market entry of the first product generation.
Sugar does not just make vaccines sweet. Some vaccines owe their effect to carbohydrates, to which sugar belongs. Vaxxilon, a company jointly founded by the Max Planck Society and the Swiss firm Actelion Ltd, will carry out research and development of these carbohydrate-based vaccines and bring them to market. The synthetic vaccines will primarily provide protection against bacterial infections. With a view to launching them on the market, Vaxxilon has acquired the exclusive rights to various preclinical vaccine candidates and methods from Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH, the Max Planck Society’s technology transfer company. The scientific basis for Vaxxilon’s business model was established by a team of scientists headed by Peter Seeberger, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam/Golm.
The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), a renowned translational drug discovery organization established by Max Planck Innovation, and Qurient Co., Ltd have signed a licence deal providing Qurient with exclusive worldwide rights to a series of highly-selective CDK7 inhibitors discovered at the LDC for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and viral infections. The partners will closely collaborate to advance the approach from the validated lead stage into clinical development. Upon successful proof-of-concept in humans they will jointly identify a suitable partner for follow-on licensing.
The ideas and inventions arising from research projects of the joint venture between Max Planck Society and Saarland University’s computer science department will in future to be further developed on campus and then marketed for application. Scientists can either set up their own companies or develop the technology to the stage where established businesses can purchase these licenses. In support of these scientists, Max Planck Society and Saarland University co-founded the IT Inkubator GmbH to create structures, which inventors and young entrepreneurs need in order to bring new technologies to market.
Stefan W. Hell, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He shares the prize with Eric Betzig and William E. Moerner.