Nominee 2004

Wirkstoffe durch Protein-Design

ANTICALINs® – Biopharmaceutical Agents from Protein Engineering

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Arne Skerra (Spokesperson)
Dr. rer. nat. Martin Pöhlchen
Dr. rer. nat. Steffen Schlehuber
Technische Universität, München
PIERIS Proteolab AG, Freising-Weihenstephan

(f.l.t.r.) Dr. rer. nat. Martin Pöhlchen, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Arne Skerra, Dr. rer. nat. Steffen Schlehuber

Antibodies are a general-purpose weapon of physicians- whose application, however, is limited and production costly. Are there better alternatives?

Arne Skerra, Martin Pöhlchen and Steffen Schlehuber have discovered an alternative to conventional antibodies – by producing a completely new type of protein. Arne Skerra is a full professor and holds the chair for Biological Chemistry at the Technical University Munich and founder of PIERIS Proteolab AG in Freising-Weihenstephan. Martin Pölchen manages the start-up company as chairman of the board, Steffen Schlehuber is the company’s CSO.

The conventional tools: complicated and unwieldy

Antibodies – the proteins of the immune system – have always been considered universal biochemical tools that allow molecular and cellular structures to be identified, bound, and marked.

The only drawback: antibodies have a complex molecular structure. They consist of four protein chains and also find it difficult to penetrate the interspaces between cells due to their size. This limits the medical application of antibodies which are also quite costly to produce.

Skerra and his team succeeded in applying the functional principle of antibodies to another protein structure scaffold. Using lipocalins, a virtually ignored family of molecules, they engineered a new type of protein. These agents known as ANTICALINS constitute an alternative to antibodies and have numerous promising applications in research, medicine, and biotechnology.

The new proteins: simple, small, and versatile
Anticalins have a simpler structure and are considerably smaller than antibodies. They are produced with the help of easily cultured microorganisms. The simple structure of the anticalins also allows them to bind with other proteins. In this way, they can be endowed with enzyme properties or caused to remain in the body for a certain retention time. Anticalins can also be used for the same applications as antibodies. They can be used to neutralize toxins and promote their excretion from the body. Certain types of cells, like those in the immune system, can be activated or deactivated with their help.

As a biotechnology innovation, the novel proteins are sold by PIERIS Proteolab. Their principal field of application is cardiovascular and tumor therapeutics. Researchers expect a special effect from the ability of anticalins to recognize the surface structure of cancerous cells and to target tumors with cytotoxins. The development of marketable drugs is planned.

The right to nominate outstanding achievements for the German Future Award is incumbent on leading German institutions in Science and Industry as well as foundations.

The Project “Anticalins® - Biopharmaceutical Agents from Protein Engineering” was nominated by the Deutscher Verband Technisch-Wissenschaftlicher Vereine (German Federation of Technical and Scientific Organizations).

more details

Resumes

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Ing. Arne Skerra

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Ing. Arne Skerra

30.07.1961
geboren in Wiesbaden
1980 – 1985
Studium der Chemie an der Technischen Hochschule Darmstadt
1982 – 1985
Stipendium der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
1986 – 1989
Doktorarbeit am Genzentrum und Promotion an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Kekulé-Stipendium der Stiftung Volkswagenwerk
1990
Postdoktorand am MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK; Stipendium des Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienstes
1991 – 1994
Gruppenleiter am Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysik
1993 – 1996
Initiator und erster Sprecher der Studiengruppe „Protein Engineering und Design“ der Gesellschaft für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie (GBM)
1994 – 1998
C3-Professor für Proteinchemie, Fachbereich Chemie, Technische Universität Darmstadt
1995
Habilitation für das Fachgebiet Biochemie an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
1997 – 1998
Geschäftsführender Direktor des Instituts für Biochemie, Technische Universität Darmstadt
seit 1997
Vertrauensdozent der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
seit 1998
Ordinarius am Lehrstuhl für Biologische Chemie der Technischen Universität München, Freising-Weihenstephan
1999 – 2001
Geschäftsführer des Forschungsdepartments für biowissenschaftliche Grundlagen am WissenschaftsZentrum Weihenstephan, Freising
seit 2000
Initiator und inhaltlicher Koordinator des Bachelor/Master-Studiengangs Molekulare Biotechnologie an der Technischen Universität München
seit 2001
Mitgründer und Aufsichtsrat der PIERIS Proteolab AG, Freising
seit 2002
Mitglied im Expertengremium „Biotechnologiestandort München“ des Bayerischen Staatsministers für Wirtschaft, Verkehr und Technologie; Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Forschungsneutronenquelle Garching FRM-II
seit 2003
Vorstand der Fachgruppe Biochemie der Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker; Tutor der Bayerischen EliteAkademie; Sprecher der GBM-Studiengruppe „Protein Engineering und Design“; Mitglied im Fachbereichsrat des WissenschaftsZentrum Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München

Ehrungen:

1983
Preis der Dr. Anton-Keller-Stiftung, Darmstadt
1996 – 1998
Dozentenstipendium des Fonds der Chemischen Industrie
2000
1. Preis im Münchner Business Plan Wettbewerb
2002
Nominierung für den 2002 World Technology Award for Biotechnology, New York City

Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Chem. Martin Pöhlchen

Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Chem. Martin Pöhlchen

22.05.1962
geboren in Bochum
1983 – 1988
Studium der Chemie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
1989 – 1992
Promotion in Chemie, Lehrstuhl für Theoretische Chemie,Ruhr-Universität Bochum
1989 – 1992
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
1992
Reisestipendium der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Institut für Theoretische Physik, Universität Stockholm
1992 – 1995
Account & Territory Manager for Software and Hardware Sales, Evans & Sutherland GmbH, Tripos GmbH, München
1995 – 1998
European Commercial Director, zuständig für den Verkauf von kombinatorischen Chemiesubstanzbibliotheken, von Drug-Discovery-Dienstleistungen und von Software, Tripos GmbH, München
1998 – 2001
Vice President Business Development, MediGene AG, München
1998 – 2000
Mitglied des DVFA-Kommittees (Deutsche Vereinigung für Finanzanalyse und Asset Management) „Neue Märkte – Innovative Unternehmen“
seit 1999
Juror und Coach beim Münchner Business Plan Wettbewerb
seit 2001
Vorstandsvorsitzender der PIERIS Proteolab AG, Freising
seit 2004
Mitglied Roundtable Biotechnologie des Bayerischen Staatsministers für Wirtschaft, Verkehr und Technologie

Ehrungen:

1983
Ehrenmedaille der Bundeswehr als Wehrpflichtiger
2001
Best Business Proposition (PIERIS Proteolab AG) at Biotech & Finance Forum, Paris
2002
Nominierung für den 2002 World Technology Award for Biotechnology, New York City

Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Ing. Steffen Schlehuber

Dr. rer. nat. Dipl.-Ing. Steffen Schlehuber

20.07.1972
geboren in Fulda
1991 – 1996
Studium der Chemie, Technische Universität Darmstadt
1997 – 2001
Doktorarbeit und Promotion in der Arbeitsgruppe von Prof. Dr. Skerra, Technische Universität Darmstadt und Technische Universität München Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Abteilung Proteinchemie, Institut für Biochemie, Technische Universität Darmstadt und Lehrstuhl für Biologische Chemie, Technische Universität München
2001
Promotion
seit 2001
Mitgründer und Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) der PIERIS Proteolab AG, Freising Entwicklung der 10 Mrd. humane ANTICALIN®e umfassenden THERACALIN®-Bibliothek

Ehrungen:

1998
Preis der Dr. Anton-Keller-Stiftung, Darmstadt
2000
1. Preis im Münchner Business Plan Wettbewerb
2002
Nominierung für den 2002 World Technology Award for Biotechnology, New York City

Contact

Spokesperson

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Arne Skerra
Lehrstuhl für Biologische Chemie
Technische Universität München
An der Saatzucht 5
85350 Freising-Weihenstephan
Tel.: +49 (0) 8161 / 71 43 51
Fax: +49 (0) 8161 / 71 43 52
E-Mail: skerra@wzw.tum.de

Press

Dr. Martin Pöhlchen
Vorstandsvorsitzender der
PIERIS Proteolab AG
Lise-Meitner-Straße 30
85354 Freising-Weihenstephan
Tel.: +49 (0) 8161 / 14 11 400
Fax: +49 (0) 8161 / 14 11 444
E-Mail: info@pieris.biz

Beschreibung der Institute und Unternehmen zu ihren nominierten Projekten

Antibodies are a general-purpose weapon of physicians- whose application, however, is limited and production costly.

Are there better alternatives?

 

Arne Skerra, Martin Pöhlchen and Steffen Schlehuber have discovered an alternative to conventional antibodies – by producing a completely new type of protein. Arne Skerra is a full professor and holds the chair for Biological Chemistry at the Technical University Munich and founder of PIERIS Proteolab AG in Freising-Weihenstephan. Martin Pölchen manages the start-up company as chairman of the board, Steffen Schlehuber is the company’s CSO.

The conventional tools: complicated and unwieldy

Antibodies – the proteins of the immune system – have always been considered universal biochemical tools that allow molecular and cellular structures to be identified, bound, and marked. The only drawback: antibodies have a complex molecular structure. They consist of four protein chains and also find it difficult to penetrate the interspaces between cells due to their size. This limits the medical application of antibodies which are also quite costly to produce.

Skerra and his team succeeded in applying the functional principle of antibodies to another protein structure scaffold. Using lipocalins, a virtually ignored family of molecules, they engineered a new type of protein. These agents known as ANTICALINS constitute an alternative to antibodies and have numerous promising applications in research, medicine, and biotechnology.

The new proteins: simple, small, and versatile

Anticalins have a simpler structure and are considerably smaller than antibodies. They are produced with the help of easily cultured microorganisms. The simple structure of the anticalins also allows them to bind with other proteins. In this way, they can be endowed with enzyme properties or caused to remain in the body for a certain retention time. Anticalins can also be used for the same applications as antibodies. They can be used to neutralize toxins and promote their excretion from the body. Certain types of cells, like those in the immune system, can be activated or deactivated with their help.

As a biotechnology innovation, the novel proteins are sold by PIERIS Proteolab. Their principal field of application is cardiovascular and tumor therapeutics. Researchers expect a special effect from the ability of anticalins to recognize the surface structure of cancerous cells and to target tumors with cytotoxins. The development of marketable drugs is planned.

The right to nominate outstanding achievements for the German Future Award is incumbent on leading German institutions in Science and Industry as well as foundations.

The Project “Anticalins® - Biopharmaceutical Agents from Protein Engineering” was nominated by the Deutscher Verband Technisch-Wissenschaftlicher Vereine (German Federation of Technical and Scientific Organizations).

Winner 2004 · TEAM 1