Leibniz Research Cluster

Bio/synthetic multifunctional micro production units - novel ways of compound development

In the early 20th century, the defeat of infectious diseases seemed close at hand. Now however, it turns out we are still far away from victory and have reached a period of stagnation: Only few new therapeutics against infections are available, allowing the diseases to regain power. Resistance to conventional antibiotics spreads rapidly. The Leibniz Research Cluster has set itself the goal to counteract these deficits.

New active compounds are particularly important with regard to missing antibiotics for fighting infections or the lack of pesticides in agriculture. To find novel compounds, the search must be reinforced with innovative methods. In addition, new technologies have to be developed that enable the efficient, resource-saving production – by the means of biotechnology.

The Leibniz Research Cluster combines the expertise of two disciplines: biotechnology and engineering. In recent years, new biotechnological methods have been developed to search for therapeutics. Examples include genome mining, molecular combinatorics, or activation of silent gene clusters. A major challenge is to reliably produce a usable drug at reasonable costs and in sufficient quantity to meet the demand. In classical fermentation, the provision of certain molecular components during drug biosynthesis is often the limiting step for the yield. Therefore, it is necessary to develop new technologies that will detach the biosynthesis or individual steps of the cellular environment and to convert them into easily manipulated technological systems.

One vision of the Leibniz Research Cluster is to replace the cell as production unit by combining biological / biochemical knowledge and new biotechnological processes and thus to overcome the dependence of today's manufacturing methods on the natural production site.