The Max Planck Society in collaboration with AstraZeneca, Merck and Pfizer starts the third funding period of the Chemical Genomics Centre (CGC). This role model for successful collaboration and partnership between academia and industry aims to accelerate scientific innovation.

The Chemical Genomics Centre (CGC) was established in 2005 by the Max Planck Society and several industrial partners under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Herbert Waldmann, Director at Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund (MPI).

The mission of the CGC is to address challenging scientific problems in the field of chemical biology and to explore and validate high-risk approaches to cutting edge precompetitive research which could enable the generation of translational science in the medium to long term. This includes the development of innovative chemical methods, novel biology and assay methods and the discovery of novel targets.

During the first two funding rounds (CGC I: 2005-2010; CGC II: 2012-2017) 69 unique research projects were run, 193 papers published, and seven patent applications were filed. The CGC constitutes a talent incubator for young Group Leaders as a stepping stone towards prestigious positions in academia and industry. It offers PhD students and Post Doc researchers an essential training ground for personal and professional development.

With the aim to sustain this successful scientific joint initiative, a new five year funding period (CGC III: 2018-2023), officially started on October 19th, 2018. 

The CGC III consolidates the collaboration between the Max Planck Society and the pharmaceutical industry. The previous sponsors AstraZeneca and Merck have been joined by Pfizer as a third partner.

The CGC III consortium will fund four excellent Group Leaders and their research teams. They will be located in premises directly adjacent to the at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology where they will benefit from the developing Dortmund Science Hub and from the scientific expertise of the industrial partners.

Currently, the Group Leaders, whose work will be funded through the CGC, are: Dr. Peter ‘t Hart and Dr. Peng Wu.

Prof. Dr. Herbert Waldmann
Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology and Full Professor at the TU Dortmund University  

The Chemical Genomics Centre represents a unique and successful example of how fruitful the interplay of chemistry and biology and tight collaborations between Academia and Industry can be. It is extremely inspiring to be among colleagues who address scientific challenges from different perspectives and with different expertise. I truly look forward to breaking new scientific ground and strengthen the existing network of peers and investors with the newly started CGC funding period.

Dr. Klaus Urbahns
Head of Discovery & Development Technologies - Global Research & Development, Biopharma - Merck
Merck has already been part of the first two fruitful CGC funding periods, and we are now looking forward to another five years of excellent collaborative and interdisciplinary scientific research at the Chemical Genomics Centre.

Dr. Malin Lemurell
Head of Medicinal Chemistry, Cardiovascular, Real and Metabolism, Innovative Medicines and Early Development (IMED) Biotech Unit, AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca has a long-standing relationship with the Max-Planck Institute, having worked closely together since the start of the Chemical Genomics Centre II. Benefits of this pre-competitive consortia include harnessing scientific learnings that can impact our portfolio programmes, and building strong relationships and networks. We are excited to join the Chemical Genomics Centre III with new talented investigators in the area of drugging RNA and RNA/protein complexes using small molecules. This is an exciting area to join forces on for the next five years.

Charlotte Allerton
Head of Medicine Design, Worldwide Research & Development, Pfizer
RNA-binding proteins and interactions with their mRNA targets are important regulators of gene expression but translation of this knowledge into medicines is currently limited by our ability to identify potent, selective and safe small molecule modulators. The investigation and development of novel drug discovery platforms made available through the CGC, combined with medicine design and computational expertise from Merck, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer, could enable us to streamline future discovery efforts and significantly expand the number of druggable targets to treat genetic disease.

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