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BioRN Lounge: how "Open Targets" can transform drug discovery

Heidelberg, 25.07.2019

On Tuesday BioRN hosted the last Lounge of the season before summer break. Birgit Kerber, well known for her long and intense engagement in the technology transfer development in the region and in Germany, presented to the audience “Open Target”.

Open Target is an innovative, large-scale, multi-year, public-private partnership that uses human genetics and genomics data for systematic drug target identification and prioritisation.

Birgit Kerber, Head Innovation and Translation EMBL-EBI, Business Development Lead Open Targets, Business Development Manager EMBL Enterprise Management Technology Transfer GmbH (EMBLEM) // Source: BioRN

Open Targets is a public-private initiative established in 2014 to combine ground-breaking experimental and computational approaches with the aim to transform how drug targets are identified and prioritised. It is an innovative, large-scale, multi-year alliance that uses extensive human genetics and genomics and fully exploits other ‘omics information to become the preeminent centre for human target validation. Open Targets provides an R&D framework that can be applied to therapeutic areas across the board and to all aspects of human disease. It currently runs programmes in oncology, immunology & inflammation, respiratory and neurodegenerative disease and brings together expertise from seven institutions: the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the Wellcome Sanger Institute, GSK, Biogen, Takeda, Celgene and Sanofi.

Birgit Kerber (Business Development Lead Open Targets) enthusiastically described the strong partnership that led to the kick-off of the project, existing challenges and advantages, short- and long-term objectives and first results.

By implementing this systematic, genome-wide and unbiased approached, Open Target project aims to support decision-making processes at very early pre-clinical phases, that are known to strongly influence the success rate of a drug through the launch.

Our next BioRN lounge will be on October 29 as usual in the Kasselhaus by Urban Kitchen. The speaker will be soon announced, but we can already guarantee good science and networking. Join us at the BioRN Lounge – where science meets industry!

About BioRN

BioRN is the science and industry cluster of the Rhine-Main-Neckar region around Heidelberg, one of Germany’s strongest biotech hubs. It is a non-profit network fostering health innovations and serving its members by creating a rich translational ecosystem as well as promoting, representing and connecting the regional innovation stakeholders.

Our vision is to develop the region into a world-leading life science cluster attracting international investments and top global talent.

BioRN has about100 institutional members, including several top academic and research institutions, 7 pharmaceutical companies, a large range of small and medium-sized enterprises bolstering the life science ecosystem as well as local government organizations and interest groups.


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