LIFE SCIENCES! - Sector Structure

Alive and Kicking

Saxony is one of Germany’s most dynamic life science regions today. About 250 companies committed towards biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical technology focus on the fields of regenerative medicine / therapies/diagnostics, molecular bioengineering, bioinformatics, nanobiotechnology as well as pharmacogenetics. 

DELVING INTO THE MYSTERY OF FAT MOLECULES

Detailed information on diabetes, Parkinson’s, and other still inactive diseases are waiting to be discovered in the key component of cell membranes – fat molecules and/or lipids. The Finnish lipidomics pioneer Prof. Kai Simons has dedicated his life to the research of technologies which are capable of analyzing this information. In 2012, he founded the Lipotype GmbH together with colleagues in the BioInnovationCenter BioZ Dresden – the first and only GMP-certified shotgun lipidomics provider on the entire globe. In doing so, the researcher wants to trigger a small revolution “made in Saxony” for individualized medicine. The customers include academic researchers as well as the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and food industries. 

   

Prof. Dr. Kai Simons – From Finland to Dresden

The Finnish pioneer in lipidomics Prof. Dr. Kai Simons came to Dresden in 2001 to establish the new Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. Since then he has found the center of his research and life in Saxony’s state capital. Find out why.

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GOOD TEST – GOOD THERAPY

An individually customized therapy for each and every patient – this vision of medical experts is about to become reality thanks to the Biotype GmbH in Dresden. Founded in 1999 as the first biotech start-up in Saxony, Biotype develops, produces, and distributes state-of-theart diagnostics applied in personalized medicine. With new test methods and test kits, the company seeks to support doctors and physicians from the sectors oncology, hematooncology, dermatology, and forensics in mastering the current challenges in medicine. 

   

Diagnostics for Dogs, Cats, and the Like

When dogs or cats at home are in poor health, then everyone is heartbroken. And when cows, pigs, or chicken are ailing on farms, then this can also quickly lead to considerable economic damage. That’s why the INDICAL BIOSCIENCE GmbH from Leipzig has dedicated itself to improving veterinary diagnostics. In so doing, the company focuses, above all, on immunological and innovative molecular test systems and their automation. The company has long been one of the globally leading providers of complete and comprehensive solutions for the verification of such animal diseases as, for example, the African swine fever or the avian flu. The corporate product portfolio includes, for example, kits, cartridges, and medical instruments for the automated extraction and isolation of nucleic acids as well as reagents for diverse virological and bacterial tests.

   

Sonovum GmbH, Leipzig

Source: Sonovum GmbH, Leipzig

A HEADBAND LISTENS CLOSELY

A special headband from Leipzig makes it possible to look into the head and to quickly detect the smallest changes in the brain. To do so, the engineers of the Sonovum GmbH have modified ultrasound technology in such a way that brain tissue can be examined “mobily” in real time and without surgical intervention. The measurement system consists of the headband with ultrasound probes as well as a device which evaluates the requisite data with the help of mathematical models. Thanks to the new acoustocerebrography (ACG), precious minutes can be saved for the treatment of patients having a stroke. 

   

Anvajo GmbH, Dresden

Source: Anvajo GmbH, Dresden

LAB-IN-A-POCKET

Much too often when antibiotics are prescribed, it’s hit or miss without knowing whether it is a bacterial infection or not. This can be avoided with the innovative minilab developed by the start-up Anvajo GmbH from Dresden. The device is hardly any bigger than a smartphone. It contains a tiny little spectrometer and a digital microscope. With the device, a physician or lab technician can analyze blood samples within a minute. Because the “fluidlab R-300” is particularly easy to operate and inexpensive, it is frequently used also in environmental technology, food analytics, and research. The Dresden-based company develops the requisite hardware and software in-house. 

   

CyFlow® Cube 8 - das kompakte und ökonomische Durchflusszytometrie-system von Sysmex Partec GmbH Görlitz

Source: Sysmex Partec GmbH, Görlitz

MANAGEABLE DIAGNOSTICS TECHNOLOGY FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Around the globe, 36.9 million people live with HIV, many of them in developing countries where clinics and test labs are often located quite some distance away. With “CyFlow,” the Sysmex Partec GmbH from Görlitz – the pioneer and market leader for flow cytometry – has introduced a mobile, fully equipped diagnostic instrument to the market. The compact and robust flow cytometer analyzes cells that float past it and delivers results within three minutes. The inexpensive, userfriendly solutions of the Görlitz experts also support the fight against tuberculosis and malaria. 

   

ABOUT BIOMARKERS AND BIOBANKING

Zellkraftwerk GmbH was founded in 2014 as a spin-off from Hannover Medical School. The biotech company based in Leipzig is considered a pioneer in the field of chip cytometry, a new method of biomarker analysis. The company has developed a unique technology platform which not only permits classic blood cell analyses, but also the measurement of tissue samples, red blood cells, and rare cells. More than 105 biomarkers can be measured on one cell. The cell samples are stored on special chips – the so-called biobanking – which is why the samples can be kept for a period of up to two years and reused as often as desired. This way, various approaches can be tested on the same sample. The Zellkraftwerk technology is used, above all, for the development of drugs in order to test their impact on the basis of markers. In spring 2019, Zellkraftwerk GmbH announced its acquisition by Canopy Biosciences.

   

Dr. Müller Gerätebau GmbH, Freital

Source: Dr. Müller Gerätebau GmbH, Freital

CUTTING EDGE DIAGNOSTICS AT HOME IN SAXONY

When it comes to the development and production of medical devices for modern diagnostics, Saxony has some “hidden champions” lined up. For example, the Dr. Müller Gerätebau GmbH. The Freital-based company is one of the leading international manufacturers of systems for diabetes diagnostics and therapy. The systems determine quickly, easily, and precisely the most important parameters from only one drop of blood. A globally leading provider of breath gas analysis systems is the Fischer Analysen Instrumente GmbH (FAN) from Leipzig. The company’s products identify, for example, the trigger for gastric ulcers via the breath and, thus, offer a gentle alternative for diagnostics when compared to gastroscopy. Functional disorders of the liver and pancreas as well as lactose intolerances can be identified via the breath as well. 

  

   

EUROIMMUN AG

Source: EUROIMMUN AG

LOCATION FOR COSMOPOLITANS

The vibrant and future-oriented life sciences environment in Saxony attracts companies from all around the globe. The EUROIMMUN AG – a globally leading provider of medical laboratory diagnostics – has been active in Saxony already for more than 20 years now. Reagents for the determination of antibodies that help detect allergies, autoimmune and infectious diseases are primarily manufactured at the two production sites in East Saxony. In 2018, the US American GENEWIZ corporation decided in favor of a commitment in Leipzig. The trade fair city is now the European headquarters of the leading global genomics service provider which runs a high-tech laboratory with state-of-the-art sequencing platforms and lab automation technologies here. 

   

TROUBLESHOOTER SOFTWARE

As a vibrant ICT location, Saxony is home to numerous software specialists who are working on solutions for the control and monitoring of processes in health care. Since 2001, the Dresden-based qualitype GmbH has been developing specialized software products for such processes and the requisite data management in laboratories. The MediaInterface GmbH is the market leader in the field of speech-based medical documentation; from Dresden, the company supports its customers around the entire globe with simplified solutions for managing the flood of information in health care. Headquartered in Dresden, the Cognitec Systems GmbH is the only company on the entire globe which has been working exclusively on face recognition technologies and innovative applications based thereon since 2002. The systems are used, for example, for border controls, security check-ins – and in the future also in robotic health care assistants which will enable them to interact better with the humans they are programmed to assist. 

   

B. Braun Avitum Saxonia GmbH

Source: B. Braun Avitum Saxonia GmbH

FILTERS FOR DIALYSES

Patients suffering from chronic renal insufficiency are dependent on having their blood cleansed via dialyses at regular intervals. The core element in this treatment is the dialysis machine. The B. Braun Avitum Saxonia GmbH manufactures such blood filters at no less than three locations in Saxony. About 1,000 employees develop new dialyzers, spin the fibers for them, mold the housings, and assemble and pack the filters. The high research density found in the Dresden region was the crucial factor for the Hessian parent company B. Braun to pool its “Extracorporal Blood Treatment” division in Saxony. This was a groundbreaking decision: With its factory in Wilsdruff, the company operates the most modern production site for dialyzers in Europe today. 

   

© APOGEPHA Arzneimittel GmbH, Dresden

Quelle: APOGEPHA Arzneimittel GmbH, Dresden

Targeting Urology

APOGEPHA is the abbreviation of “Apothekergenossenschaft für Herstellung und Vertrieb pharmazeutischer Präparate C. Stephan e. G. m. b. H.,” a pharmacists’ cooperative for the production and distribution of pharmaceutical preparations, and refers to the roots of the pharmaceutical producer, which has about 140 employees today. the APOGEPHA Arznei­mittel GmbH stands for more than 140 years of experience in the development and production of drugs. Meanwhile, the Dresden-based company specializes in medical preparations for the treatment of urological and urooncological diseases. This includes, for example, remedies for urinary incontinence, bladder infections, prostate cancer, and renal cell carcinoma. APOGEPHA invests a significant portion of its turnover into researching and developing consistently and constantly better pharmaceutical products and types. Towards this end, the company also focuses on scientific cooperations with renowned universities, clinics, and other pharmaceutical companies.

   

ROTOP Pharmaka GmbH, Dresden

Source: ROTOP Pharmaka GmbH, Dresden

A PIONEER FOR PERSONALIZED MEDICINE

Only the precise diagnosis of a disease permits an individually customized therapy. While such methods as X-rays and CT scans essentially focus on the representation of anatomical structures, small amounts of so-called radioactive markers are used in nuclear medicine to represent metabolic processes and their pathological changes in the body. These markers are used in imaging methods which are designed, for example, to detect and assess tumor or cardiac diseases. The ROTOP Pharmaka GmbH specializes in the development and production of active ingredients and radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostics. When it comes to development, ROTOP cooperates closely with the research center Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf on whose research campus ROTOP’s corporate headquarters are located.

    

BromMarin GmbH, Freiberg

Source: BromMarin GmbH, Freiberg

HEALING POWERS FROM SEA SPONGES AND CELL CULTURES

Rethinking problems – and solving them –, this is what numerous spinoffs of Saxony’s renowned research facilities stand for. Researchers from the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology and the University Hospital Dresden have proven the healing effect of brominated substances contained in sea sponges on tumors and metastases. In 2015, this resulted in the founding of the BromMarin GmbH in Freiberg, which has been developing pharmaceutical products from sponges ever since. The research conducted at Dresden University of Technology’s B CUBE evolved into the start-up denovoMATRIX GmbH in 2018 which has developed a technology for the mass cultivation of stem cells. Stem cell therapies and 3D printing of organs are the future. So far, though, it has been difficult to grow large quantities of these cell cultures in high quality. denovoMATRIX has solved this problem – with a chemical coating for lab vessels and carriers which emulates the environment in which the cells grow inside the body. 

   

INNOTERE GmbH, Radebeul

Source: INNOTERE GmbH, Radebeul

IMPLANTS FROM THE 3D PRINTER

The INNOTERE GmbH specializes in implants for bone regeneration. The experts from Radebeul develop and produce an injectable bone cement paste based on calcium phosphate. Physicians greatly appreciate this implant material because it is easy to use. Lengthy preoperative preparations are not necessary. The company applies this innovative technology also for the 3D printing of filigree skeletons (“scaffolds”). This permits the precise definition of the size, form, and porosity and to adjust the implants to individual defects. No other company on the entire globe offers this singular combination of bonelike material properties and innovative technology for 3D printed implants. 

   

stamos + braun prothesenwerk gmbh, Dresden

Source: Matthias Popp / stamos + braun prothesenwerk gmbh, Dresden

ARMS AND FINGERS FROM THE 3D PRINTER

The special area of expertise of the stamos + braun  prothesenwerk gmbh are prostheses which look deceptively real and are individually adjusted to their wearers. Towards this end, the team also uses innovative 3D printing technologies. The startup has set up its business at a focal point of Saxony's biotech and medical research community: In Dresden. stamos + braun produces, for example, finger, partial hand, arm, toe, forefoot, and leg prostheses. Quite a stir was caused by stamos + braun’s individually manufactured silicone prostheses: The Dresdeners were the first ones in the world to successfully process special medical silicones at high temperatures in the 3D printer. This permits the company to manufacture high-quality prostheses without any greater material losses with the additive-generative method. The artificial limbs produced that way are up to 40 percent lighter than conventional prostheses.

  

PC KEYBOARDS FOR HYGIENE SENSITIVE AREAS

Germs and bacteria often accumulate on keyboards and computer mice. In hospitals, particularly in operating rooms, this is a hazard for both patients and staff. That’s why only those PC accessories and peripherals are used here which were specifically developed for critical hygiene sensitive areas. The GETT Gerätetechnik GmbH from Treuen in the Vogtland region develops and manufactures such keyboards and PC mice which are easy to clean and meet all requirements and standards for sterility. Already in 2005, GETT launched the first product for the medical sector on the market – a keyboard with a foil cover. Today, the portfolio encompasses a wide range of water and dust proof mice and keyboards for hygiene sensitive, medical environments. Due to their completely sealed surfaces, these devices are easy to clean and disinfect. While keyboards with a silicone surface or a silicone skin are similar to conventional keyboards and respond to pressure, glass keyboards with their touch-sensitive surface can be used like tablets.

   

DKMS Life Science Lab Dresden

Source: Tobias Sauer / DKMS Life Science Lab Dresden

THE TREASURE TROVE OF LIFE

Where money was once counted and gold was stored, the DNA of seven million people are archived today – in deposit boxes at a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius. The former building of the German Central Bank in Dresden is the place of the world’s largest typing lab for stem cell donors: The DKMS Life Science Lab Dresden examines the DNA of all samples one after another so that the matching donors can quickly be found for patients undergoing stem cell transplants. So far, the laboratory has typed 1.2 million of the stored samples. Towards this end, the Dresden-based Life Science Lab was the first laboratory of its kind on the entire globe to introduce the “Next Generation Sequencing” in 2013 which accelerates the typing process enormously. 

   

Beispiele aus der Stammzellkollektion der c-LEcta GmbH Leipzig

Source: c-LEcta GmbH, Leipzig

VERSATILE ENZYMES AND MORE

The Leipzig-based c-LEcta GmbH focuses on white biotechnology and specializes in the industrial exploitation and utilization of biological processes. c-LEcta develops enzymes as well as microbial production strains for the manufacture of proteins with very high yields that are used in the fine chemicals and food industries as well as for the production of biofuels. 

   

© Tech & Life Solutions GmbH, Dresden

Source: Tech & Life Solutions GmbH, Dresden

Music App Thwarts Tinnitus

With their music app “Harmody,” the team of the Tech & Life Solutions GmbH – a spin-off of Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden) – wants to help patients suffering from tinnitus. To alleviate their symptoms, the smartphone app “Harmody” plays the individual patients’ favorite music which, though, has been precisely attuned to the tinnitus perceived in the respective patients’ heads. With this app, patients are able to first limit their individual tinnitus frequency and then determine precisely that tone which is to be embedded into the music. A patented algorithm analyzes the musical quality and nature of the desired musical piece, automatically adjusts its specific pitch, and thus harmonizes the music optimally with the individual tinnitus tone. This harmonization shifts the individual tinnitus noise into the background and lets it fade into a melodious sound.

   

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