Full Speed ahead for Biotech Process Development

09 October 2006

Stuttgart-based Insilico Biotechnology AG launches initial bioscience simulations on Europe’s fastest vector processor

(Stuttgart) — Since the start of October 2006, Insilico Biotechnology AG has been using Europe’s fastest computer for highly complex biotech process simulations. The high-performance computer centre at the University of Stuttgart (HLRS) enables this life science company to perform computing operations in a fraction of the time previously needed. The results are eagerly awaited.

Klaus Mauch, CEO of Insilico Biotechnology AG, meets his most productive member of staff every day before work starts. The University of Stuttgart’s high-performance computer centre is situated just a short distance from the company’s headquarters in Stuttgart-Vaihingen. Since the start of October 2006, Europe’s fastest computer has been working there on highly complex operations intended to further strengthen Insilico’s technological leadership through biotech computer simulations. “Problems that could not be resolved at all or required an immense volume of time to do so can now suddenly be cracked,” says Klaus Mauch, excited by the new opportunities for Insilico. Dr. Klaus Eichenberg, Managing Director of BioRegio STERN Management GmbH, also welcomes the first system biological application on the new super computer: “This cooperation project underlines the ideal conditions for biotech companies in this region. Within just a few months we will have results.”

What bioengineers from Insilico Biotechnology AG particularly hope for are detailed models of cell metabolic processes in order to develop and present proposals for optimizing biotech production processes over a comparatively short period of time. Insilico is thus able to simulate a cell’s complete metabolic process on the computer — a skill that the company sees as a key area of its expertise. It is possible to map what occurs if interventions are made in reaction chains. Forecasts are possible about reaction pathways, which in metabolic processes lead to optimal yields of desired substances.

The benefits of these simulations are obvious to Insilico’s customers. Biotech production processes can be specifically designed and optimized instead of proceeding with the “trial and error” principle. Decisions on a large economic scale can be prestructured on the basis of computer-generated results. “When unpromising production varieties can be excluded without having to spend money in laboratory experiments, this creates potential for major savings for our customers,” says Klaus Mauch, emphasizing the benefits of Insilico’s services. So far, interest in Insilico has come in particular from companies in the “white biotechnology” sector — for example, chemical companies such as Degussa and BASF, but also pharmaceutical companies including Boehringer Ingelheim. Ultimately, each small improvement can help save millions, especially in industrial mass production processes, such as biotech manufacturing of vitamins.

Insilico is already a world leader in models that represent the entire genome of a species and simulate cell metabolic processes in detail. “We have the mainstays of biotechnology, such as the intestinal bacteria E. coli and yeast, completely in silico , which means they are available on the computer,” says Klaus Mauch, who is confident his company will enjoy robust growth in the coming years. Collaboration with the high-performance data centre in Stuttgart will play a major role in this.

About BioRegio STERN

BioRegio STERN Management GmbH is a skill-sharing network, providing a help and advice centre for founders of new businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers in the biotechnology sector in the region comprising Stuttgart, Tübingen, Esslingen, Reutlingen and Neckar-Alb in Germany. BioRegio STERN promotes cooperation between different disciplines such as medicine, process engineering, sensor technology, dietetics, biochemical analysis and bioinformatics. Regeneration biology is a key area of focus.

BioRegio STERN represents the interests of founders of new businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers when dealing with the political sector, the media and associations, coordinates economic promotional activities and marketing and provides advice for grant applications and corporate financing, all backed up with efficient press and public relations work.

BioRegio STERN is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its "BioProfile" promotional programme, the Stuttgart and Neckar-Alb regional authorities and the municipal authorities of Stuttgart, Tübingen, Esslingen and Reutlingen. The Managing Director, Dr. Klaus Eichenberg, is a molecular and cell biologist and investment analyst.

About Insilico Biotechnology AG

Insilico Biotechnology designs and optimizes biotech processes for the chemical, pharmaceutical, agricultural and food industries. Insilico boasts internationally recognized expertise and the world’s only system biology platform combining proprietary databases, cell models and computer-controlled evaluation methods. By integrating and evaluating experimental data using genome-wide network models, Insilico offers new solutions for manufacturing biochemicals and biopharmaceuticals, validates active substances and reduces drug development periods. Founded as a spin-off of the University of Stuttgart in 2001, Insilico currently employs eight staff. The company, which was converted into a joint-stock company in July 2006, is headed by Klaus Mauch.

Contact

Insilico Biotechnology AG
Klaus Mauch (CEO)
Nobelstrasse 15
70569 Stuttgart, Germany
Phone +49 711 65696661
info [at] insilico-biotechnology.com
www.insilico-biotechnology.com

BioRegio STERN Management GmbH
Friedrichstrasse 10
70174 Stuttgart, Germany
Phone +49 711 8703540
info [at] bioregio-stern.de

Editor: Zeeb Kommunikation
Hohenheimer Strasse 58a
70184 Stuttgart, Germany
Phone +49 711 6070719
info [at] zeeb.info]