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Foundation of the PharmaScienceHub

New collaboration platform aims to accelerate the development of innovative active substances

Saarbrücken, June 27, 2023 - In order to advance the development of new pharmaceuticals more rapidly in the future, Saarland University and the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland intend to bundle their expertise in the field of drug research and strengthen collaboration with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry at the national and international levels. The agreement for the new interdisciplinary cooperation platform "PharmaScienceHub" was signed on June 23, 2023, at the Saarbrücken campus.

Saarland University (UdS) and the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) are pursuing the goal of rapidly and efficiently developing urgently needed pharmaceuticals to combat infections, cancer, and age-related diseases with the new cooperation platform "PharmaScienceHub" (PSH). Through PSH, UdS and HIPS aim to further expand their interdisciplinary collaboration in biomedical pharmaceutical drug research, clinical medicine, and (bio)informatics. The platform will bring together more than 300 researchers working on the discovery of new active substances, as well as the development of innovative drugs and technologies - up to early-stage clinical trials.

To optimize promising research results and drug candidates for use as medicines and bring them to the market more quickly, the University and the Helmholtz Institute will also collaborate closely with partners from the pharmaceutical and biotech industries at the national and international level.

For the Minister of Economic Affairs and Innovation Jürgen Barke, the new PharmaScienceHub represents a forward-thinking initiative: "With a investment of 70 million euros, the federal and state governments have laid the foundation for the expansion of drug research at HIPS. The collaboration between the university, HIPS, and industry is now intended to help translate results from excellent pharmaceutical research into economic applications and accelerate knowledge transfer. This will drive structural change in a future-oriented field, with a view on key objectives of our innovation strategy."

"Through the PharmaScienceHub, Saarland University and HIPS are consistently advancing their long-standing and highly successful collaboration in the field of drug research," emphasizes University President Manfred Schmitt. "With the establishment of the platform, the university will further strengthen its NanoBioMed focus while simultaneously enabling and advancing innovative developments in a highly interdisciplinary and AI-supported field of modern drug research and development. PharmaScienceHub is a crucial building block for this."

"Our goal is to optimally interconnect academic research in the natural sciences, medicine, and informatics while strengthening interaction with our industry partners. This unique network will enable us to advance the development of new active substances in an even more targeted and efficient manner," says Rolf Müller, Managing Director of HIPS. Dirk Heinz, Scientific Director of HZI, adds, "Since its foundation in 2009, HIPS has developed into an internationally renowned address in the field of pharmaceutical research with a focus on infectious diseases. With the establishment of PSH, the developed technologies and expertise of HIPS are now also available for the development of innovations in other application areas."

PharmaScienceHub will bring together over 20 research groups and more than 300 researchers at the Saarbrücken and Homburg sites, including the fields of natural product research, medicinal chemistry, drug delivery, clinical research, bioinformatics, and chemoinformatics. As a new core element of the research, an international graduate school has been established with the support of an EU funding program. Over the next five years, 15 international doctoral students will be trained in drug research, each supervised by at least two scientists from complementary disciplines.

The expansion of HIPS decided in December 2020 with funding from the federal government and the Saarland state government, as well as the interdisciplinary alliance "Pharmaceutical Research Saarland."represent the basisfor the establishment of the new collaboration platform. As part of the HIPS expansion, the institute will receive 40 million euros for investments and 30 million euros to expand existing research groups and establish new ones. In the research alliance, Saarland University, the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, and the Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) have been pooling their activities in the fields of pharmacy, medicine, informatics, and materials science since 2019. (https://www.uni-saarland.de/forschen/pharmazeutische-forschungsallianz-saarland.html)

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