Biotechnology in the front line for innovation at BioRN Annual Conference




Heidelberg, 05.10.2021. On Friday October 1, BioRN has been able to welcome its members back on site for the usual Annual Conference.


“I am every time amazed about our network: so many exceptional people, so much exceptional science, so many new connections. All in our neighbourhood!” said Gitte Neubauer (Chair of BioRN Executive Board and Head of Cellzome) during the opening speech.




With the title “Novel Therapeutics: Biotechnology leading the way into the future”, the conference featured some of the biotechnology-driven new therapeutical approaches and partnership models for successful drug development.

The scientific track was opened with the keynote of Holger Kissel (Vice President Business Alliances, BioNTech SE). He gave insights on how breakthrough technologies in life sciences have enabled innovative concepts to address the immunobiology of cancer at its core. He focused on BioNTech’s approach towards individualized cancer therapy.

Recent discoveries for innovative approaches were featured during the sessions, including gene therapy, PROTACs (Protein Targeting Chimeras), proximity-based agents, stimulation of immune surveillance of solid cancers or microbiota contributions to drug metabolism (see Conference Program).



To bring these solutions to the patients, collaboration among industry, academia, regulatory, clinician and patient communities, as well as ad hoc funding and investment frameworks are essential.

Stephan Urban (Head of the Translational Virology Unit, Department of Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology at Heidelberg University Hospital) retraced in his keynote, a 25-year long story. The journey started in the University Hospital in Heidelberg, and last year the first drug for the treatment of chronic hepatitis D infections was brought on the market by MYR. Finally, in 2021 MYR was acquired by Gilead, that will accelerate the global launch. He particularly highlighted how strategic alliances were essential as well as cooperation of all involved stakeholders.

Finally, Thomas Hanke presented the recently established Evotec’s BRIDGE beLAB2122 as an instrument to accelerate pre-clinical academic projects in the region. BioRN recognised the potential of Evotec’s BRIDGE partnership for the region and initiated discussions with Evotec and the academic partners in 2019.

Three parallel workshops, poster sessions and networking completed the conference, that was followed by the celebration of BioRN’s 25th Anniversary.



“For 25 years BioRN is making connections in the region and BioRN Annual Conference is one of our traditional formats for the members to strengthen those relationships. We are happy that we were able to come back together on site and we are looking forward to the next 25 years of BioRN” commented Julia Schaft, Managing Director at BioRN.





2021-10-05_BioRN Annual Conference and 25 Anniversary
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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 about 130 institutional members, including the top academic and research institutions, 10 global 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. www.biorn.org.



Media contacts


Dr. Annalisa Zuccotti

BioRN Cluster Management GmbH

Communication & Events Lead

P: 49 6221 4305-113


Source: BioRN