HZI and Ascenion Help Launch New Spin-off

InSCREENex’s core technologies, SCREENflex and CI-SCREEN, have originally been developed by the company founder and his team at the HZI. The first allows the production of cells for primary screening in half the time that is usually required. The second enables the design of cells with tissue-like characteristics suited for secondary screening and initial ADME/TOX evaluation. Taken together, these technologies can significantly speed up the time- and cost-intensive process of biopharmaceutical drug discovery and validation.

‚InSCREENex has hit the nail on the head as the biopharmaceutical industry struggles to improve the productivity of its research and drug discovery efforts,‘ says Christian Stein, CEO of Ascenion. ‚We have very much enjoyed the effective cooperation with the founding team and hope that the successful launch of InSCREENex will inspire further scientists at the HZI. We still see a lot of potential, here.‘

Ascenion, the HZI’s technology transfer partner, has coached the founder and mediated a licence agreement that provides InSCREENex with exclusive rights to SCREENflex and CI-SCREEN. In return, Ascenion has acquired equity in InSCREENex and will continue to support the company.

The Helmholtz Association and the HZI have contributed seed funding from the Helmholtz Enterprise Fund, together with a grant under the HEFplus programme. Moreover, they provide the entrepreneurs with continued access to the institute’s infrastructure and know-how.

‚We are very proud to see a further innovative and commercially promising spin-off from the HZI entering the market‘, comments Prof. Jürgen Wehland, Scientific Director of the HZI. ‚The technologies SCREENflex and CI-SCREEN hold tremendous potential for various research fields at the HZI by accelerating the discovery and validation of novel therapeutic compounds.‘

Roland Schucht, founder and CEO of InSCREENex adds: ‚We will have achieved a great deal if we are successful in introducing our technologies into industry. Novel therapeutics could be discovered more rapidly and developed more effectively. The support received from Ascenion and the HZI was extremely helpful in building a strong starting position. We expect to be self-financing in one to two years‘ time, enabling us to gradually expand our services.‘

Market entry is planned via the SCREENflex technology, which is ready for market. Resulting revenues will be used for the validation and commercialization of CI-SCREEN.

Contacts

For Ascenion:
Dr Peter Ruile, COO
T: +49 (0)89 318814-14, E: ruile@ascenion.de
Ascenion GmbH, Herzogstraße 64, 80803 Munich, Germany

For the HZI:
Susanne Thiele, Head of PR
T: +49 (0)531 6181-1400, E: susanne.thiele@helmholtz-hzi.de
Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany

For InSCREENex:
Dr Roland Schucht, CEO
T: +49 (0)531 6181-5080, E: info@inscreenex.com
InSCREENeX GmbH, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany

About Ascenion
Ascenion GmbH is an IP asset management company focused on the life sciences. Ascenion advises and supports public research institutions with regard to the protection and exploitation of their intellectual property (patents, know-how, materials), and initiates and mediates license agreements between research institutions and industry. The company places particular emphasis on coaching company founders and on active equity management. Ascenion was founded in 2001 as a 100% subsidiary of the Life-Science Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research and has since acquired 16 research institutes in the Helmholtz and Leibniz Associations, together with the Hanover Medical School and the research institute Twincore as exclusive partners. Ascenion currently markets around 700 technologies on behalf of these institutes, and closes an average of about 70 agreements between research and industry per year. The team has also coached numerous spin-offs through their foundation and early growth and Ascenion holds equity in 22 of these companies. Ascenion’s headquarters are in Munich, with further offices in Berlin, Braunschweig, Hamburg, Hanover and Neuherberg. Further information at www.ascenion.de

About the HZI
The Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) is a non-university research institute with over 700 highly-qualified staff. Its scientific focus is on infection biology: How do viruses and bacteria make us ill? How can we prevent and treat infections? The institute is jointly funded by the Federal Republic of Germany and the state of Lower Saxony, and is a member of the Helmholtz Association – the biggest scientific association in Germany.
(idw, 03/2010)

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