Thanks to special expertise in research and development, the key topics in the field of biotechnology & pharma are primarily in the following areas.
Excellent cooperation opportunities with renowned universities, research institutes, and biotechnology companies are the best requirements for innovative future projects in drug development.
In addition to the approximately 30 pharmaceutical companies in the region, about 20 companies from the 230 biotech companies are involved in the research and development of new drugs.
Network for Drug Development
Launched in May 2017, the network “Network for Pharma Solutions” (Net PhaSol) is a cooperation association with more than 40 companies and scientific institutions focusing on “Drug Discovery & Development.” The network for drug development, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy within the funding program “Central Mid-Sized Innovation Program” (ZIM), serves as a platform for the research, development, and marketing of new products, processes, and services in drug development. The focus is primarily on the first stages of value creation of a drug discovery cycle.
According to an evaluation of the public trial registry clinicaltrials.gov by the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa), no other country in the world carries out as many drug trials as Germany. The domestic pharmaceutical industry is at the forefront with autoimmune diseases in particular. Most studies in Germany were started in Berlin. Here, medical institutions such as the Charité - Universitätsmedizin are involved in a total of 201 studies (as of 2016).
Berlin-Brandenburg has exceptional expertise in the areas of in vitro diagnostics (IVD) and bioanalytics. Around 80 companies and 20 academic and non-academic research organizations are engaged in the identification of new biomarkers and new platform technologies for diagnostic instruments. In this area, research is focused on point-of-care testing, high-throughput screening, biosensors, next-generation sequencing, glycan-based array platforms, and automation.
A clear and precise diagnosis is indispensable for a targeted therapy. In particular, the development of biomarkers is experiencing rapid progress in diagnosis, follow-up, population screening, and disease prevention. In addition, stratifying patients or groups of patients with new biomarkers opens up new and more appropriate treatment options. By providing a more targeted diagnosis based on accurate diagnosis, IVD and Companion Diagnostics have the potential to minimize disease-related costs and improve patient lives.
With joined forces: The network “Diagnostik Berlin-Brandenburg”
The network “Diagnostik Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.” has brought together innovative companies, renowned international research institutions, and laboratories and expert partners from Berlin-Brandenburg and six other federal states to jointly develop, manufacture, and sell in vitro diagnostic products. The network combines the diverse areas of expertise of its over 65 members, covering the entire value chain for in vitro diagnostics. In addition to human medicine diagnostics, other fields of application include veterinary diagnostics, mobile health, food, and agriculture & environment. Its customers include laboratories, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and clinics. The network’s subsidiary, Diagnostik BB GmbH, is a professional seminar and workshop provider and supplies various consulting and project management services specialized on the in vitro diagnostics area.
Berlin-Brandenburg has become one of the most important international centers for regenerative medicine in the recent years. Focal points of research and development in the German capital region are tissue engineering, cell and gene therapy, the stimulation of the body’s own regeneration (induced auto-regeneration), and the interaction of biomaterials and cells.
In total, around 30 companies and around 20 university and non-university research institutions in the region are operating in this dynamic growth area at the interface between biotechnology and medical technology. The results of this work are approaches and products that are internationally respected and have successfully established themselves on the market.
Key technologies in the region are:
- Transplants for the musculoskeletal system
- Miniaturized organ cultures
- Heart support systems and bio-hybrid cardiac valves
- Immune cell therapies
Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Medicine
In the field of applied research and the translation of basic research into clinical application, the “BIH Center of Regenerative Therapies” (BCRT) is an example of an internationally outstanding and successful translation model. This is where the body’s own healing processes are researched and, based on this, new therapies and diagnostics are developed. The BCRT was founded in 2006 as Alliance of Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft.
Sugar research is important, and not just for the food industry and materials development. It also plays a major role in medicine, for example in the development of vaccines and in biomarker research. In Berlin-Brandenburg, about 50 players from research and industry are active in this field. They are addressing those important complex sugar structures that envelop every cell in the human body.
The new insights and technologies they are making result in innovative and improved diagnostics, therapies, and vaccinations.
Leading institutions include the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Regional companies also offer a broad range of expertise, from glyco-optimized biopharmaceuticals (glycotopes, ProBioGen) to glycan-based microarrays (Scienion) and the automated synthesis of oligosaccharides (GlycoUniverse).
In 2016, twenty of these organizations came together to form glyconet Berlin-Brandenburg. The network houses at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology in Potsdam and promotes greater cooperation between research and industry for the development of innovative products.
The 2017 publication "Glycobiotechnology in Berlin-Brandenburg" gives a good overview of the activities in Berlin-Brandenburg.
Since 2011, the German government has been pursuing its "National Bioeconomy Strategy 2030" to lay the foundations for a sustainable, resource-efficient economy that makes better use of biological resources to reduce German dependence on fossil fuels. Industrial biotechnology is essential to establishing this bio-based economy.
With its differentiated research landscape and specialized companies, the region is a strong location for industrial biotechnology. More than fifty companies in the region offer and develop goods and services related to modern industrial biotechnology. University-based and third-party research institutions ensure scientific advances for the development of technologies. Research and industry in Berlin-Brandenburg cover such topics as:
- Bioprocess engineering
- Enzymatic bioconversion
- Enzyme development
- Pre- and probiotics
- Algae biotechnology
- Development of natural substances