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2015|16 Annual Report Fraunhofer IGB

MOLECULAR BIOTECHNOLOGY The Department of Molecular Biotechnology is active in the business areas pharmacy, medicine/diagnostics, and chemistry. One focus of the department is on the infection biology of pathogenic microorganisms and viruses. Here we use complex 3D models of infection with components of the immune system to detect the interaction between the host and pathogen and derive new approaches for drug screening and the stimulation of an endogenous defense. We develop new diagnostic methods based on nucleic acid technologies (diagnostic DNA-microarrays, development of biomarkers via DNA-high-throughput sequencing, and next-generation se- quencing based diagnostics of nucleic acids circulating in the blood) or by means of cell-based reporter assays, e.g. with an immune receptor-based pyrogen assay. A further focus is the development of cell lines for pharmaceutical biotechnology as well as in strain development for industrial biotechnology. In terms of production processes of pharmaceutical proteins such as interferons and factor VII, we have already developed GMP-compliant processes in laboratory scale. In industrial biotechnology, processes for the microbial production of bio- surfactants and the enzymatic synthesis of epoxides up into the 100-liter scale have been developed. The core competences of the department are in the applica- tion of molecular-biological and biotechnological methods for genome, transcriptome, and proteome analysis, and an accredited analytics, which is also suitable for metabolome analysis To make microbial production as efficient as possible, we use our expertise from the molecular-biological optimiza- tion of production strains right up to the development of bio- processes with integrated, effective downstream processing. In infection biology, the combination of methods of functional genome analysis with our expertise in cell culture technologies lead to a unique expertise in the development of 3D infection models and test systems (e.g. as for the screening of drugs). For targeted drug delivery, we furthermore develop virus-like particles and therapeutic viruses. Our goal is to understand the processes occurring in nature and to use nature’s toolbox and diversity in biotechnological value chains, for example, in the development of biobased chemicals such as biosurfactants or polymer precursors, but also for new diagnostics and therapeutics. The new technolo- gies in genome and proteome analysis enable us to extensively analyze entire microbial communities from the environment or the bioreactor, as well as the interaction between micro- organisms and the human individual in the shortest of times. Using this information, products can be tested and validated, measurements for the specific treatment of a disease can be induced, or personalized medicines for different populations can be developed. In industrial biotechnology, the easy avail- ability of genomes and the rapid analysis of cellular regulatory circuits offer the possibility to identify new metabolic path- ways, to optimize processes directly in the reactor to use this ideally for the production of chemicals or enzymes. With our expertise, we provide services, also in collaboration with other departments of Fraunhofer IGB, to different areas of the branches medicine, pharmacy, and chemistry. Thus, in the field of biocatalysis we work closely with the Bio at branch in Straubing. Laboratory-scale bioprocesses of up to 10 m3 scale can be developed at the Fraunhofer CBP branch in Leuna. In addition, within the Fraunhofer Group for Life Sciences opportunities exist for the process development of pharmaceutical proteins right up to the GMP production of clinical test samples and studies in clinical phase I. 4 0 COMPETENCES 40