6 Life Sciences Report – Cutting Edge Technologies Key technologies that will transform the healthcare market In the German capital region leading companies, renowned scientists, innovative startups and firstclass hospitals work together to develop new technologies for a better patient and clinical outcome. At the interface between life sciences and IT developments disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, 3D printing, gene and cell therapies will pave the way for transformation in the healthcare market. The Allstar: Artifical Intelligence The innovative power of the German capital region in the area of AI is not only noticeable in the high-profile areas of business intelligence and process management, but is also demonstrated by a significant number of healthcare startups and research institutions. They are pushing the boundaries of traditional healthcare with AI solutions from all different angles which could also break new ground on the international stage. The Berlin AI Venture Studio Merantix has developed with its Vara Healthcare project an MDD-certified deep learning technology for the radiological detection of breast cancer, which is aimed to facilitating the work of doctors. One of the most successful startups in the field of AI-based health apps is Ada Health. Ada is a global health company founded by doctors, scientists, and industry pioneers to create new possibilities for personal health. Ada’s core system connects medical knowledge with intelligent technology to help all people actively manage their health and medical professionals to deliver effective care. For this purpose, Ada collaborates with leading health systems and global non-profit organisations. Cooperation between different players is a key factor by the development of AI-based technologies. The Hungarian company turbine was founded to enable researchers to more effectively plan and develop life saving therapies before carrying out time consuming and costly biological experiments. As part of Bayer’s G4A Accelerator and in close cooperation with the pharmaceutical giant an AI software solution was developed in Berlin which predicts how a cancer will respond to treatment while helping to develop new medicines. There is also a very strong research landscape in the field of AI in the German capital region. At Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin currently more than 20 research groups are working to improve treatment and care in the health sector with the help of AI in cooperation with other research institutes such as the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin), the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU Berlin), the Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin), the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW), the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and several Fraunhofer Institutes. The Craftsmen: Additive Manufacturing and 3D Bioprinting The healthcare sector is one of the most exciting segments for the development and penetration of 3D printing; In the future, customized prosthetics, implants and probably whole organs could be developed by using these techniques. For an interface between awareness, concrete development processes and legislation, the network Medical goes Additive has recently been founded in Berlin. It offers a knowledge and transfer platform for its partners in the field of additive manufacturing for the healthcare market as well as the networking with international players. A similar emerging trend that created promising new companies is 3D bioprinting of human tissue and cells. denovoMATRIX offers modular, biomimetic coatings for cell culture plastic ware that can be tailored to recreate a large variety of extracellular matrices (ECM) for any adherent cell culture while Cellbricks bioprinting produces and distributes bioprinters for printing mini organs and living tissue. The spin-off startup from the Technische Universität Berlin has developed its own 3D printer and specially adapted bioinks, which are used to produce functional placenta and liver models.
Life Sciences Report – Cutting Edge Technologies 7 The Precision Worker: ATMPs Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product: These include gene therapies, somatic cell therapies and biotechnologically engineered tissue products designed to enable individualized, targeted treatment. In the field of regenerative medicine, cell therapy or gene therapy, innovative therapy and product concepts with drugs for advanced therapies are the focus of interest, spurred on by considerable research successes. The Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies (BeCAT) is pursuing a new research concept for the development and application of innovative therapy and product approaches. A state-of-the-art research structure is being set up at the Charité location Virchow-Klinikum for this purpose. The aim of the research is to integrate novel therapy concepts more quickly into clinical everyday life and thus increase the chances of patients being cured. Only half an hour away on the campus Buch, T-Knife, a spin-off from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, develops therapies that can fight cancer with the help of the patient’s immune system. Over many years, Prof. Thomas Blankenstein’s research team has succeeded in genetically modifying human T-cells so that their receptors can specifically detect and destroy certain tumour cells. With the help of this patented technology, the first T-cell receptor gene therapy is to be realized in Germany. The Prodigy: CRISPR-Cas9 Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier, who created the basis for CRISPR-Cas9 with her findings in the field of RNAmediated regulation, is working in the capital region as the founding director at the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens. In the field of gene therapy, the CRISPR- Cas9 gene scissors raise high hopes of being able to treat hereditary diseases at the molecular biological level. Scientists of the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have already investigated reactions of the human immune system to CRISPR-Cas9 in 2018 and found that humans have broad immunity to the Cas9 protein. The industry side is betting on novel cell therapies as well, for example in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or heart failure. Bluerock Therapeutics, the Boston based subsidiary of Bayer, is working on novel therapies based on socalled induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). These stem cells can be specifically differentiated into cell types, which could then be used for regenerative therapies against a variety of diseases. © Max-Delbrück-Centrum © Charité Universitätsmedizin