LIFE SCIENCES IN THE LEIPZIG REGION
Leipzig is one of the most diverse and dynamic life sciences clusters in Germany and Central Europe. World-class institutions on location conducting ground-breaking research in the field include the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and the German Biomass Research Center (DBFZ). Moreover, Leipzig’s life sciences cluster integrates fundamental research with industrial ambitions.
From its inception in the year 2000, Leipzig’s life sciences cluster has been geared towards becoming a leader in applied medical research and marketable healthcare innovation. The rapid translation and introduction of new therapies, devices and solutions into the EU’s primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare systems is its stated aim.
To this aim, Leipzig continues to build the physical and organizational infrastructure that fosters innovation, paves the way to commercialization, spurs business formation and supports business growth in the life sciences. Companies from the biopharma, biotechnology, medical devices, and digital health sectors will find ideal conditions for setting-up R&D, business, manufacturing or sales and distribution operations in the Leipzig Region.
Regenerative, Cell & Gene Therapies
In recent years, Leipzig has become a leading location for the development of regenerative therapies in Europe. Two out of the currently eight advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) with EU regulatory approval are manufactured here.
Companies, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, and research institutes operating in the field of biotechnology, biopharma, and medical engineering greatly benefit from the Leipzig-based Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI). Aside from its own research on oncology as well as on immunological, infectious and neurodegenerative diseases, the Fraunhofer IZI acts as a full service CDMO. Its core competencies include the development, optimization, validation, and automation of GMP-compliant manufacturing processes. The production process for Novartis’ CAR-T-Cell product Kymriah® has been established in cooperation with the Fraunhofer IZI.
Projects to Watch
Leipzig and Dresden have for some time now achieved national and international visibility in the field of immunological and genetic research, as well as in the application of cell therapies.
The focal points at both locations complement each other excellently and there is already an established cooperation between experts from basic research, applied research, clinical trials and patient care, which provides a solid basis for the establishment of a future cluster network.
By bringing together the creative and innovative potentials of Saxony’s top research institutes, medical institutions, and industries, SaxoCell will develop production methods and applications for new "living medicines" that will make the costs for healthcare systems affordable and enable broader medical applications and thus a realistic economic model with high value-added potential.
Companies to Watch
In Leipzig, CO.DON produces Spherox®, an ATMP for the regenerative treatment of articular cartilage damage using a patient's own cells, in one of the world's largest and most advanced GMP facilities for the production of human cells.
Leipzig start-up Bellaseno develops and produces bioresorbable breast scaffolds using 3D printing from a biodegradable plastic that conforms to ISO 13485. The implant dissolves within 2 years, and the shape of reconstructed breasts is then maintained through the patient's reinjected fatty tissue.
Vita 34, founded in Leipzig in 1997, provides comprehensive solutions for the cryopreservation of stem cells from the umbilical cord and today is already Germany's largest stem cell bank for personal provision.
Genewiz has chosen Leipzig as the location for its European headquarters. The genomics products specialist supplies academic and industrial clients in medicine and pharma throughout Europe. The cluster of competence and the outstanding logistics infrastructure in the Leipzig region were crucial factors in their decision to relocate here.
The digital transformation of healthcare continues apace and the Life Sciences Cluster Leipzig provides ideal conditions for innovators in medtech and healthtech. The Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences (MiS), the Center for Scalable Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (ScaDS.AI) as well as the collaborative research projects Smart Medical Information Technology for Healthcare (SMITH) and Artificial Intelligence for Clinical Studies (KIKS) develop AI and machine learning applications for healthcare providers. Drawing on these strengths, Leipzig has become a European testbed for the real-life and real-time use of 5G technologies in healthcare delivery.
Projects to Watch
Project MOMENTUM will dispatch the first integrated, 5G-networked ambulance to a European city. Medical resources, technologies and information from the hospital are thus accessible at the mobile treatment site and collected patient data can be transmitted to the hospital. This enables a more precise pre-clinical diagnostic assessment of the patient-specific situation and a more precise early initial diagnosis on site. Due to the bilateral availability of clinical information at the scene of the accident, including preclinical data in the emergency room, patient treatment can be improved and made more efficient along the process chain.
In Leipzig’s tightly knit medtech sector, research institutions, clinics, legacy companies and start-ups work closely together to develop, launch and implement innovative POC diagnostic devices and technologies.
The Accelerator for Smart Medical Devices and Therapies supports German and international scale-ups in developing market-ready product innovations for the European healthcare market, assisting in particular with CE certification and reimbursement.
Companies to Watch
Sonovum specialises in the use of ultrasound in brain monitoring. They are currently the only company worldwide that can detect the most minute changes in the cellular and molecular structure of the brain, either acutely or through continuous monitoring, using non-invasive acoustic cerebrography (ACG) technology.
The Leipzig start-up Raylytic has launched the UNITY science platform for AI-supported diagnostics. UNITY can automatically collect and analyse clinical data, patient-reported outcomes and imaging data.
Leipzig-based VivoSensMedical develops diagnostic tools for use in the fields of autoimmune diseases, chronobiology and women's health. Their OvulaRing is an approved medical device that consists of a biosensor and a web-based evaluation software that enables users to monitor their individual cycle.
SelfDiagnostics has developed the first diagnostic multi-test for the HomeCare sector that simultaneously tests for chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia) and neisseria gonorrhoea (gonorrhea) based on a urine sample. The test was developed in Leipzig on one of SelfDiagnostics' patented platforms for molecular diagnostics.
The Leipzig Heart Institute (LHI) develops innovative surgical procedures in cardiovascular medicine as well as the respective guidelines for international adoption. The Innovation Center Computer-Assisted Surgery (ICCAS) works to advance digital technologies for future clinical applications and to evaluate translations of novel medical technologies and therapeutic procedures. ICCAS is an established and EN ISO 13485-certified partner for medical technology companies.
The International Reference and Development Centre for Surgical Technology (IRDC) develops systems for the automation of medical and surgical treatment. Its sought-after high-tech products, such as the General Operation Manager® and the Surgical Procedure Manager®, are sold by medical technology companies operating worldwide. In addition to product development, the IRDC has set itself the task of promoting the transfer of knowledge. At the IRDC Academy, more than 500 surgeons, nurses and technicians train the latest methods and prepare for use in the integrated operating room every year.
Companies to Watch
Founded in 2012, Leipzig-based start-up Surgical Process Institute (SPI) creates solutions for digitally assisted surgery and training. It has been part of the Johnson & Johnson medical division as an independent company since 2017.
Next3D is a spin-off from Leipzig’s Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurosurgery. The company produces patient-specific 3D-printed vascular models based on CT imagery that can be used as templates for marking vascular branches on conventional stents for the therapy of aortic aneurysms.
Realists Training Technologies, a spin-off of the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK), is a global provider of training simulations for minimally invasive spinal surgery involving artificial tissue, blood and bone for spinal canal stenosis.
ACL, headquartered in Leipzig, develops and manufactures IT hardware specifically optimised for the requirements of the medical sector. This includes medical monitors for medical imaging and video displays for operating rooms and intensive care units.
Digital & Virtual Care
Leipzig is on track to become a national centre for digital and e-health start-ups. Drawing on Leipzig’s considerable sector strengths in the digital and tech sector, companies aiming to reshape preventive care or healthcare provision through tech find excellent conditions for building a sustainable business.
The Smart Infrastructure Hub Leipzig, located in SpinLab - The HHL Accelerator, supports early stage digital and e-health start-ups. The Accelerator for Smart Medical Devices and Therapies helps later stage start-ups bring their technologies to the German healthcare market.
Companies to Watch
HHL Spinlab Alumni eCovery built a health app that enables patients to perform safe, sensor-supported physiotherapy exercises at home and accompanies them during their recovery.
The Leipzig start-up DOCYET is developing a digital health guide that uses an AI-based chat to help patients select a displayed care offer.
Mindance is a Leipzig start-up developing a platform for mental fitness and the prevention of mental illness in the workplace.
Over the last 10 years, more than 350 clinical trials have been conducted in Leipzig. The university’s Center for Clinical Trials (ZKS) supports hospitals, clinics and industrial partners with the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of clinical trials.
Since 2011, the LIFE Biobank has been storing the biospecimens of the Leipzig Research Centre for Lifestyle Diseases (LIFE). Thanks to its specific expertise, the LIFE Biobank plays an important role within the German Biobank Alliance.
Since 2017, the Leipzig Medical Biobank also collects biosamples from patients with selected tumor diseases from the University Cancer Centre Leipzig and works in cooperation with the Clinic for Visceral, Transplantation, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, the Clinic and Polyclinic for Gynecology, the Institute of Pathology and the Institute of Laboratory Medicine.
The Blood Bank of the University Hospital Leipzig has the supply mandate for the university hospital, where more than 4,000 blood products are needed every month. It also supplies hospitals and doctors' practices in the region and, as one of the largest university blood donation services in Germany, has licences for blood products, stem cell and tissue preparations and cellular immunotherapeutics issued by the higher federal authority (Paul Ehrlich Institute in Langen).
Haema AG was originally founded in 1993 under the name Labor Diagnostika GmbH by the Free State of Saxony and the districts of Oschatz and Döbeln. Today, it is largest independent blood donation service. Haema provides extensive services in the field of transfusion medicine to help hospitals meet their legal obligations. This also includes, among other things, the performance of leukapheresis/stem cell donations.
Institutions of higher education such as the University of Leipzig, the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK Leipzig) or the Leipzig Graduate School of Management (HHL) stand for the highest educational quality. In the LernKlinik Leipzig, the 3,100 medical students can train medical skills on over 200 simulators and phantoms and simulate complex treatment situations. Problem-oriented learning courses, e-learning and a mentoring programme further enrich the teaching concept of the Medical Faculty. In the field of medical and laboratory technology training professions, the Leipzig region offers an excellently qualified new generation of specialists for companies in the life sciences.
- 40,000 students at the University of Leipzig (UoL) and other institutions of higher education
- 3,100 students at the Medical Faculty (Human and Dental Medicine) of the University of Leipzig
- UoL‘s Faculty of Life Sciences (biochemistry, biology, psychology) records 1,200 graduate and 500 PhD students
- Graduate programme Master of Science Clinical Research and Translational Medicine at the ZKS Akademie
- 3 vocational schools for medical-technical and pharmaceutical-technical assistants
- Academy for Clean Room Work
Companies from biotechnology, medical technology, the pharmaceutical industry and bioinformatics find an excellent infrastructure in Leipzig. The purpose-built BioCity Campus is home to the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Leipzig, the Centre for Biotechnology and Biomedicine, the biotechnological-biomedical incubator BIO CITY LEIPZIG, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI), among others, in the immediate vicinity.
The BioCube Leipzig offers more space for new settlements and companies that want to develop further after their start-up phase in the BIO CITY LEIPZIG. With its five storeys, it has S1 and S2 standard laboratory space as well as modern office, production and storage space. It thus creates good opportunities, especially for young innovative companies, to establish cooperation in the field of research and development and to benefit from synergies throughout the BioCity Campus.
Additional office, laboratory and production space for companies from the life sciences is currently under development on the 500,000+ square metres of land at the old Leipzig Trade Fair grounds. The listed trade fair hall 12 with its impressive portico under its monumental, best preserved peak was one of the most famous symbols of the old Leipzig Trade Fair. As part of the renovation work well under way, the south-western part of the building is being converted into a state-of-the-art office and technology centre for life sciences companies.
Pharma & Healthcare Logistics
The Leipzig region is one of the leading trimodal logistics locations in Germany and Europe. More than 1,500 logistics companies are based here, including global players such as DB Schenker, Rhenus Logistics, Kühne+Nagel and World Courier with solutions for pharmaceutical and medical technology companies. DHL Express maintains its own Pharma Logistics Warehouse at Leipzig/Halle Airport with transshipment and storage capacities in accordance with the IATA CEIV Pharma Standard. In addition, a DHL "End of Runway" Integrated Solutions Center with ISO 13485 and GDP/GMP certifications is currently under construction.
LIFE SCIENCES BUSINESS SUPPORT
Invest Region Leipzig (IRL) is the first point of contact for international companies from the life sciences sector. Companies with an interest in the Leipzig region as a location for production, distribution, logistics or R&D operations receive tailored, free and confidential investment support services.
IRL provides information on location conditions, the cluster infrastructure and funding opportunities. As part of Leipzig’s life sciences cluster, IRL helps connect interested companies with relevant public, private, academic, and clinical partners.
IRL also helps companies develop the best location strategy, find the right properties or sites, and access the sector support services available.
Business Growth Support
Companies that have located in the Leipzig region receive on-going business support. The development and promotion of the life sciences is a top priority in Central Germany, the Free State of Saxony and the Leipzig region. To increase economic performance and business growth, Leipzig’s Department for Economic Development supports
- the establishment and growth of life sciences companies on location
- the transfer of knowledge and technology between industry and science
- the development of scientific excellence
- the constant supply of qualified talent
- national and international trade promotion activities
biosaxony is the association of the biotechnology/medical technology sector in the region of Saxony. Its members represent the various companies, research institutes and lobbyists working in biotechnology and medtech and the related areas of engineering and material sciences in Saxony. It pulls the different strands of biotech and medtech together, gauges its members’ needs, and represents their interests.
biosaxony’s responsibilities include initiating projects between industry and research, pinpointing services and know-how, harnessing synergies, and highlighting regional expertise in order to support the value-added development of these cross-cutting technologies. Other elements of its cluster work include developing new ideas and strategies as well promoting sustainable technology transfer, such as at its partnering conference bionection. Local work is strengthened by biosaxony’s two offices in Leipzig and Dresden.