Department of Drug Design and Target Validation

The Department of Drug Design and Target Validation develops new molecular therapies for neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases. The department’s expertise is based on an in depth pharma-like understanding of scientific work and a long-lasting experience in the field of drug development. This profile encompasses the identification of new target proteins by analyzing putative pathologic post-translational modifications, the misfolding of proteins and the formation of pathological aggregates. Based on these new strategies the department develops and tests small molecules as well as biological agents (biologicals). This research is complemented by the design of new assays for the identification and diagnostic application of biomarkers aiming at monitoring the course of the disease and its therapy. The department’s expertise also expands to the generation of pharmacologically relevant in vitro and in vivo models. Besides state-of-the-art methods for peptide synthesis and protein analytics (MALDI-TOF and LC-MS), the department commands a wide range of biophysical methods to characterize therapeutically relevant physiological pathways, their key proteins as well as cell-based and pharmacologic models for the characterization of new chemical and biological drug candidates.



The Department of Drug Design and Target Validation is certified GLP test facility.


Molecular Biotechnology

The Molecular Biotechnology Unit develops and establishes cellular and molecular assay systems. The methods comprise cell-based assays, analysis of gene expression, immunological methods, protein biochemistry, complex cell culture models as well as animal experiments.


Protein and Drug Biochemistry

The Protein and Drug Biochemistry Unit’s expertise lies in the purification of bacterial, plant and animal proteins, target proteins and their chemical and enzymological characterization.


Drug Design and Analytical Chemistry

The know-how of the Drug Design and Analytical Chemistry Unit covers the field of medicinal chemistry and analytics necessary for identifying potential drug candidates from the area of »small molecules« as well as their development towards a clinical candidate.


Protein Misfolding Diseases

More than 300,000 new cases of amyloidoses are recorded in Germany every year. The diseases are caused by abnormally modified proteins being deposited in the body, usually in intercellular spaces.


Astacin Proteases

The human genome contains information for about 600 proteolytically active enzymes involved in a variety of different regulatory processes. A disturbed or deregulated function of these proteinases therefore often leads to the development of diseases.


Research projects funded by the EU

Research projects in the Molecular Drug Biochemistry and Therapy Development Project Group at Fraunhofer IZI that are supported by the Land of Saxony-Anhalt using funds provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Project of the department

Establishing a device unit for drug characterization: Shining the spotlight on neurodegenerative diseases

Vivoryon Therapeutics AG / 16.4.2020

Press release

Development Program for Meprin Protease Inhibitors with Intended Therapeutic Use in Fibrosis, Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease


Press release

Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology and Immunic GmbH carry out joint research on new drugs for treating autoimmune diseases