Core competencies

Indication-specific core competencies

The core competence Immunology covers special competencies and technologies available at Fraunhofer IZI to develop innovative approaches for the diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and prevention of infectious, inflammatory and hematologic diseases in human and veterinary medicine. A key resource here is the excellent infrastructure at Fraunhofer IZI which features, among other things, a facility for keeping small animals in accordance with the latest standards, comprehensive imaging capabilities and state-of-the-art operating rooms besides specific areas for conducting work in line with BSL-3 and GLP.

The development of new therapeutic strategies and diagnostics platforms for various types of cancer requires special and diverse skills and resources, which are pooled under the core competence of Oncology. This includes, for example, special competencies in identifying and validating cellular target structures and signal paths which are of diagnostic and/or therapeutic value, competencies in developing and validating especially predictive animal models, as well as competencies in developing innovative therapeutic approaches. As a consequence, the competencies available at Fraunhofer IZI allow large parts of the early stages of the value chain to be depicted in this field in terms of diagnostics and therapy development related to oncology.

Neuropathology is the third indication-specific core competence and describes pooled expertise in the research of neuropathological and neurodegenerative diseases. A special feature of this core competence is the depth of research established at Fraunhofer IZI which, in several projects, extends to the area of internationally, surpassingly renowned, excellent fundamental research. This research hones in on the areas of stroke and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease). In several projects, the applied research conducted at Fraunhofer IZI into the pathogenesis of various diseases has already enabled promising, new targets to be identified for diagnosing and treating diseases in the described ranges of indication.

Technical core competencies

The core competence Cell Engineering and Cell Therapy is one of the institute’s most important core competencies and has been ever since Fraunhofer IZI was established, as clearly expressed in the institute’s name. Over the past few years, comprehensive expertise and an extensive special infrastructure have been established for the commissioned testing and manufacture of cell-based therapeutic agents. The three facilities operated by Fraunhofer IZI for the GMPcompliant manufacture of ATMPs count among the largest and most profiled of their kind in Europe. At the same time, sizeable resources and outstanding regulatory experience have been established at Fraunhofer IZI with regard to reviewing the safety and tolerability of ATMPs and blood products under GLP conditions.

The core competence Qualification of Therapeutic Molecules pools together all of the competencies available at Fraunhofer IZI in close connection with drug development. The classes of therapeutic molecules addressed here include small, organic molecules and peptides as well as therapeutic macromolecules such as aptamers and antibodies, besides various kinds of natural products. The Molecular Drug Biochemistry and Therapy Development project group in Halle (Saale) covers a large part of the overall value chain at the preclinical drug development stage, beginning with drug design and the complete spectrum of medicinal chemistry and analytics and extending right through to establishing new animal models for investigating relevant mechanisms of action and conducting in vivo drug candidate tests.

The final technical core competence, Bioanalytics and Biomarker Development, addresses all of the available capabilities and resources for the development of biomarkers, assays and detection technologies / solutions for the application area of medicine and food analysis. The biomarkers identified and validated at Fraunhofer IZI often form the basis of a subsequent assay or device development. In this regard, capabilities in the technological areas of analytics, nanotechnology and electrical engineering are what primarily contribute towards the implementation of innovative development concepts.