bio.dortmund - leading biotech cluster in the center of Germany

Within just a few years, a biotechnology cluster of worldwide renown has evolved in Dortmund. Modern R&D institutes, up-and-coming technology businesses and groundbreaking joint projects have become characteristic of the city.

A major role in this trend was played by the Economic Development Agency Dortmund and the TechnologieZentrumDortmund (TZDO), one of the largest and most successful technology centers in Europe.

The foundations for Dortmund's success in biotechnology were laid in 1984 with the TZDO, which is one of the leading technology centers in Germany today. Together with the neighboring TechnologieParkDortmund, the TZDO developed as a renowned address for companies and founders. More than 280 technology oriented companies with over 8500 staff have settled here. They utilize the specialist synergies and profit from the proximity to the Technical University Dortmund as well as the numerous scientific institutes and other institutions...

The BioMedizinZentrumDortmund, the TZDO's centre of excellence and start-up centre for biotechnology and medical technology provides young companies and start-ups from the fields of biomedicine, bioinformatics, proteomics and bio-microstructure- technology with an optimal environment for implementing their innovative ideas and concepts.

Top level research with an integrated approach

With around 840 scientific staff working at internationally renowned institutes, the biotechnology and biomedicine location of Dortmund is certainly well positioned in the research world. The Max-Planck- Institute for molecular physiology, the CLIB2021 cluster, the ChemBioTec project, the Lead Discovery Center and the institutes of the Dortmund Leibniz Association all contribute to this.

Asita Weissenberger, CSO Biotechnology/ Life Sciences at the dortmund-project

The Max-Planck-Institute for molecular physiology is one of the leading German institutions in the field of fundamental biomedical research. In addition to its state of the art equipment, the institute stands out because of its integrated research concept. Cooperation between international scientists from different disciplines leads to an unusual interlinking of biology and chemistry. This connects genome and proteome research with analytical and synthetic procedures in organic chemistry. This has already made it possible to discover numerous mechanisms which contribute to the formation of tumors and neurological development disorders.

Using biological methods in industrial production — so-called industrial or white biotechnology — is currently enjoying a strong upswing and is working as an innovative motor. In Dortmund important impulses are currently coming from the CLI B2021, the Cluster for Industrial Biotechnology. Two of four technology platforms — biocatalysis and downstream processing — are coordinated by renowned Dortmund university professors. The aim is to promote technology transfer and to establish industrial biotechnology beyond the borders of the region.

The chair of Biotechnology at the Technical University Dortmund coordinates the interdisciplinary, international research and development network ChemBioTec. The network is funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (Federal German environment trust) and promotes the further development of sustainable production processes for environmentally sound products and procedures. The processes are intended to have a ‘lighthouse' effect for innovations in the whole of Germany.

In the summer of 2008 the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) started operations in Dortmund. The subsidiary of Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH, the technology transfer institute at the Max-Planck-Society, is to take on fundamental research projects and develop active pharmaceutical substances. These could then be applied in preclinical and clinical studies. The team of pharmaceutical developers, scientists and project managers with experience in drug discovery, primarily investigates widespread illnesses like cancer or diabetes. The LDC thus makes a significant contribution to filling the gap between fundamental research and applications.

The work of the Institute for Analytical Sciences is oriented to life and material sciences. As a member of the Leibniz Association, the institute carries out application oriented fundamental research for chemical analytics with a focus on biotechnology, material analysis and spectroscopy. It operates throughout Germany and on an international level and is organized into five departments: miniaturization, proteomics, metabolomics, material analytics and surface spectroscopy. To achieve this they develop new or improved measurement principles and procedures as well as analytical techniques, methods and devices.

Research and teaching for practical applications

The Technical University Dortmund is recognized as an applications oriented research institute with international acclaim and is well established as the starting point for numerous biotechnology projects. With around 2500 students on biotechnology courses, Dortmund is very well positioned in the world of university research and teaching.

The faculty of bio and chemical engineering with its special orientation numbers among the largest and most successful in Germany and Europe. The core of the research and teaching is based on developing and improving safe and environmentally sound processes and production for the chemical and biotechnology industry which conserve resources. Interdisciplinary Bachelor and Masters programs open up numerous opportunities for the graduates in chemical and bio-technology — the sectors of the future. The academic training, in addition to broad-based specialist knowledge, offers the chance to gain practical experience in modern laboratories. The faculty also produces excellent research results — particularly in international cooperation partnerships.

Dortmund — one of the most important biotech locations

Professor Dr. Andreas Schmid, Chair for Biotechnology at the Technical University (TU) Dortmund, talks about biotechnology and biomedicine in Dortmund — a city of science.

How significant are biotechnology and biomedicine for the location of Dortmund today?

Dortmund is a member of numerous research and graduate school associations. This location counts as one of the most important clusters for biotechnology and biomedical research in Germany. And in some specialist areas Dortmund is up among the world leaders.

Which main focuses do you see in Dortmund's biotechnology and biomedicine?

This location is special because of its dual approach to the two main fields of biotechnology and biomedicine. On the one hand we have biochemical and chemical processes and their analysis. In Dortmund new production processes for special, fine and basic chemicals are being developed for broad areas of application. On the other hand we have biomedical research. New university courses for bio-engineering and chemical biology have been set up here and are both proving very popular.

Which role does technology transfer from research into local industry play here?

Technology transfer is very important for this location. There are very good contacts between research and new local companies. For example new biotechnology procedures are developed together with large industries so that new findings about substances find their way quickly from research into practice. The national research association ChemBioTec, in which Dortmund is involved, also provides additional support for technology transfer: academic institutions as well as SMEs work together closely here.

Which institutes or establishments are particularly significant for Dortmund?

The TU Dortmund plays a central role. The faculties of bio and chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, informatics and statistics are of great significance as is the excellent support for biotechnology and biomedicine under the guidance of the TU. The Max-Planck-Institute, both of the Leibniz-Association institutes, ISAS and IfADo, and the TechnologieZentrumDortmund together with the BioMedizinZentrumDortmund are also all important for the city. Furthermore, the good cooperation with the Economic Development Agency Dortmund and the integration in networks such as the bio.dortmund are also important for the city as a location for science.

How do you assess the future of Dortmund as a biotechnology location?

Dortmund will grow quickly and gain in significance. Dortmund will have to develop its own profile to continue to hold its own with the traditional research locations.

Dortmund — the right choice

Are you interested in setting up a branch in Germany? Then come and see Dortmund for yourself. Get to know the city, possible sites for your company as well as potential customers and partners.

The Economic Development Agency Dortmund — in particular the dortmund-project — together with an extensive network of experts, provides biotechnology and life sciences companies and institutions with a wide range of services to help with: • Company start-ups • Company relocations • Training and education matters • Network and cooperation

dortmund-project, Töllnerstrasse 9-11, 44122 Dortmund, Germany

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