EnviroPep, a start-up project of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), has developed an innovative purification method for chemically synthesised peptides. The founding team is financially supported by the funding programme EXIST Research Transfer of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the European Social Fund with around 700,000 euros. The first EXIST research transfer at HU has been approved under the mentorship of Prof. Seitz at the Institute of Chemistry. The technology should now be brought to market maturity for which the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) is providing laboratory and office space as a cooperation partner to the founder team.
Peptides are a class of natural products that are composed of amino acids. They are indispensable for any metabolic process thus they are now among the most promising drug candidates in therapeutics. For peptides to be used as active ingredients, however, they must be available in an exceedingly pure form. The problem is that the methods currently used for peptide purification are time-consuming and cost-intensive.
This is where EnviroPep begins. "Our method is suitable for fast, reliable and simple peptide purification from milligram to kilogram scale, without using high pressure. In addition, no organic solvents are required. As a result, this process is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to existing processes such as the most widely used high-pressure liquid chromatography, HPLC for short", says Robert Zitterbart, one of the three founders and development managers.
EnviroPep was committed to the technology right from the start by cooperating with BAM. "Quality assurance is an important factor for potential customers. We are working together with BAM experts and want to set important targets here at an early stage", says Zitterbart.
"The start-up EnviroPep shows that the Adlershof BAM Campus offers founders a space for innovative ideas and entrepreneurship", says BAM President Prof. Ulrich Panne. "At EnviroPep, three young scientists have joined forces to enter a market with their development. All three are Ph.D. students of a Berlin research institute and one of them has completed his research project at BAM. I wish the EnviroPep founders much success in building their innovative company."
The founders, together with partners from industry, now want to demonstrate the production of therapeutically relevant peptides using the new technology on a larger scale. In the future, the company intends to offer tailor-made solutions for process optimisation in peptide production.
Up to now around 950 companies and 16 scientific institutions are based at the technology centre "Adlershof. Science at work." BAM provides the research teams with a campus and modern and excellent tailor-made research infrastructure.
About the Humboldt Universität Founding Service
The Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (HU) Founding Service which is run jointly by Servicezentrum Forschung (Research Service Centre) and Humboldt-Innovation GmbH, has been supporting spin-off companies from the university environment since 2005. As a central contact point for entrepreneurs at the university, it offers advice and support in the development of business ideas and implementation of business models. The aim is to introduce the principles of founding a company into the university and to put application-oriented ideas into practice.
BAM promotes safety in technology and chemistry.
As a BMWi departmental research institute, BAM performs research, testing and offers advisory support to protect people, the environment and material goods. Its activity in the fields of materials science, materials engineering and chemistry is focussed on the technical safety of products and processes. BAM’s research is directed towards substances, materials, building elements, components and facilities as well as natural and technical systems important for the national economy and relevant to society. It also tests and assesses their safe handling and operation. BAM develops and validates analysis procedures and assessment methods, models and necessary standards and provides science-based services for the German industry in a European and international framework.
Safety creates markets
BAM sets and represents high standards for safety in technology and chemistry for Germany and its global markets to further develop the successful German quality culture "Made in Germany“.