The University of Tübingen is optimising its drug development pipeline. The TuCADD consortium provides professional help to people who want to take potential drug candidates to clinical application. The coaching involves assistance with the entire phase I drug development phase from industry experts.
Since 2012, a DFG-funded research group called FOR1680 has been studying CRISPR-Cas, an immune system that unicellular bacteria and arachaea use to protect themselves against attacks from viruses and plasmids. Prof. Dr. Anita Marchfelder, a molecular biologist at Ulm University and coordinator of the FOR1680 research group, and many other researchers were surprised to find that prokaryotes incorporate the genetic material of enemies as a kind of self-vaccination and even pass this protection on to their progeny.
Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are working intensively on the discovery and development of new drugs for the efficient and safe treatment of diseases. However, before drugs are authorised for treating humans and animals, they have to be made into a form that is acceptable. That is where a company called Catalent Pharma Solutions, with a facility in Schorndorf in the south of Germany, comes in.
The targeted modification of genomes (also called gene editing or genome editing) using CRISPR/Cas is extraordinarily accurate and also has the potential to cure hereditary diseases. However, the benefits of genome editing raise ethical concerns and involve risks that need to be taken seriously.