MPG projects successful at GO-Bio initial

Several projects receive BMBF funding

Several projects that applied as part of the GO-Bio initial funding program receive funding. ©aicandy

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has made a positive decision on the GO-Bio initial funding program applications from various Max Planck Institutes (MPIs).  3 life science projects have been selected for the first funding phase. In addition, another project from 2022 has been accepted for phase 2 in order to translate the research results into products and services.

Identifying new research approaches with high innovation potential in the field of life sciences and successfully developing them into marketable products and services - that is the goal of the BMBF GO-Bio initial funding measure. The focus is particularly on ideas in an early stage and research results that do not yet have a high concretization degree. As part of the 2-stage initiative, their level of maturity is to be advanced to such an extent that they can be transferred to already established programs such as VIP+, EXIST Forschungstransfer, KMU-innovativ or GO-Bio or be directly commercialized. The project drafts for phase 1 could be submitted by February 15th. Scientists from the MPIs submitted projects in the areas of diagnostics, therapeutics, platform technologies or research tools. 3 of these projects have now received approval for inclusion in the first phase, the so-called exploratory phase. From October onwards, potential exploitation ideas will be developed based on the respective research results, individual implementation strategies will be assessed and necessary partners will be identified. The exploratory phase lasts 12 months and includes financial support of up to 100,000 euros.

Opioid alkaloids for medicine

An example of a project that was now included in the exploratory phase as part of GO-Bio initial is the “BIPASS” project from the Max Planck Research Center for the Science of Pathogens, led by Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier. The project is concerned with the development of an innovative platform technology for the production of therapeutic opioid alkaloids using genetically modified yeast strains and fermentation. Opioid alkaloids are used in a wide variety of areas of medicine, including cancer, pain or cold symptoms. With the support of GO-Bio initial, the researcher Dr. Gita Naseri will further develop the concept of her technology and test its commercializability, and thus, contributing long term to ensuring that urgently needed complex alkaloids can be produced easier and cheaper. 93,500 euros were granted for the project.

CRISPR Toolbox and mobile pupillometry

A project that started the exploratory phase in 2021 is currently in phase 2 of the GO-Bio initial program. In the so-called feasibility phase predominantly experimental work is carried out and the development up to the proof-of-principle will be carried out between October 2022 and September 2024. The project called “Plug & Play Toolbox for highly efficient CRISPR genome modifications” by Dr. Stephan Riesenberg from the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology is receiving funding of 566,000 euros and is working on CRISPR genome editing technology, which can be used to generate a targeted DNA double-strand break in a desired gene sequence. Here, cellular repair of the DNA break is necessary, for which currently no optimal solution exists, as it can lead to undesirable modification of the gene sequence when using conventional methods. The new technology developed at the MPI is intended to provide CRISPR users with an easy-to-use toolbox for this CRISPR genome modification. The aim is to achieve high efficiency in repair (homology-directed repair) by simply adding various components to genome editing experiments.

Now another project that went through the exploratory phase in 2022 will be funded as part of phase 2. From October 2023, the “NeuroScope2” project around Dr. Victor Spoormaker at the MPI for Psychiatry will further develop mobile pupillometry, also in the form of an app, for the clinical use of neurocognitive tests as part of the feasibility phase and will receive funding for this in the amount of 544,000 euros.

Support and consulting for projects

In order to increase the quality of applications and thus the probability of project funding, Max Planck Innovation (MI) offers intensive support and advice on GO-Bio initial project funding. Researchers at the institutes of the Max Planck Society (MPG) who have a project idea receive in-depth scientific and formal support during the application and funding phases. Part of the MI support includes information events, webinar series, project-related discussions as well as support and assistance with applications and project development during the exploratory phase.

Dr. Masin Abo-Rady, who heads the program at MI, emphasizes the great importance of the GO-Bio initial projects: "We are enthusiastic about the diversity of ideas and the innovative character of the submitted project applications. The research at the MPIs is of highest quality, and we are sure that these projects will be the basis for a lot of products and services in the biological-medical field in the future and will thus benefit many people. We look forward to supporting these projects and accompanying their development up to market readiness."

Between October 2023 and February 15, 2024, new projects can apply for GO-Bio initial funding. Further information can be found at

About GO-Bio initial

With the GO-Bio initial program, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) promotes the identification and further development of life science exploitation ideas, preferably from the areas of “therapeutics”, “diagnostics”, “platform technologies” and “research tools”, from their conceptual design to the verification of feasibility and possible exploitation options.
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About Max Planck Innovation

As the technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society, Max Planck Innovation is the link between industry and basic research. With our interdisciplinary team, we advise and support scientists at the Max Planck Institutes in evaluating inventions, filing patents and starting businesses. We offer industry central access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. We are therefore fulfilling an important task: The transfer of results from basic research into commercially and socially useful products.
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Project Manager GO-Bio initial

Dr. Masin Abo-Rady

Molecular biologist, M.Sc.

Phone: +49 89 / 29 09 19-38

Marketing & Public Relations

Markus Berninger

Diplom-Kaufmann, certified graphic designer

Phone: +49 89 / 29 09 19-30