Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Corona research: Consortium of Berlin research and industry seeks active ingredients


The Berlin biotech company Molox GmbH and a team at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) have initiated a consortium of regional research groups and BASF. Together, they want to identify a starting point for the development of a potential active substance against the new coronavirus. Targets of potential inhibitors will be SARS-CoV2 proteins that promote the spread or infectivity of the viruses. Scientists from Freie Universität Berlin are also involved in the research work.

"Berlin combines important large-scale infrastructure with an excellent network of academic and industrial structural biologists and biochemists. The distances here are short, but resources and expertise must be strategically coordinated to be successful," says Dr. Holger von Moeller, the owner of the biotech company Molox.

At BESSY II, Prof. Rolf Hilgenfeld (Uni Lübeck) was able to analyse an important protein of the SARS-CoV2 virus, the viral main protease which enables the virus to multiply.

HZB/H. Tabermann

Protein crystals are analysed in the MX laboratory at BESSY II with hard X-rays.

HZB/C. Feiler

Access to synchrotron radiation is essential for the success of the project. This particularly intense radiation is provided by the Berlin Electron Storage Ring for Synchrotron Radiation (BESSY II), which is operated by the HZB.

Several research groups at Freie Universität Berlin led by Prof. Markus Wahl, Prof. Christian Freund, Dr. Ursula Neu, and Prof. Sutapa Chakrabarti are working with Molox to produce the proteins and then crystallize them.

"The HZB is making all existing infrastructures available to the joint project," explains Dr. Manfred Weiss, head of the Research Group Macromolecular Crystallography (MX) at HZB.

BASF is the first project partner from the chemical industry to provide funds to start the investigations. Protein crystals will be saturated with potential inhibitors and subsequently analysed on the MX beamlines of BESSY II.

In this way it can be discovered which compounds are particularly good at inhibiting the function of the protein - these should then be the starting points for the development of active substances.

The consortium is currently negotiating with other partners in order to acquire them and their substance libraries. "We are looking forward to this joint project and hope that we will be able to identify new potential active substances against SARS-CoV-2 very quickly", says Dr. Christian Feiler, project leader at HZB.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Christian Feiler, E-Mail:
Dr. Manfred Weiss, E-Mail:

Weitere Informationen:;sprache=en;seitenid=...

Dr. Ina Helms | Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Polarization of Br2 molecule in vanadium oxide cluster cavity and new alkane bromination
13.07.2020 | Kanazawa University

nachricht Researchers present concept for a new technique to study superheavy elements
13.07.2020 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron cryo-microscopy: Using inexpensive technology to produce high-resolution images

Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Latest News

Black phosphorus-based van der Waals heterostructures for mid-infrared light-emission applications

13.07.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Polarization of Br2 molecule in vanadium oxide cluster cavity and new alkane bromination

13.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Researchers present concept for a new technique to study superheavy elements

13.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>