Production of RNA in microrganisms
CeBiTec (Universität Bielefeld) receives funding from the BMBF for the development of novel RNA production systems in bacteria.
The CeBiTec research group Microbial Genomics and Biotechnology, led by Prof. Jörn Kalinowski, received a grant for development of production of mRNA by fermentation. The grant is worth more than 1.3 million € and shared with the start-up company SenseUP GmbH, led by Dr. Georg Schaumann and located at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The team wants to develop cost-effective and scalable processes for the production of RNA-based active ingredients over the next three years. For this purpose, the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF), Thomas Rachel, MdB presented the funding decision in a ceremony at the Forschungszentrum.
RNA-based active ingredients are currently establishing themselves as a new vaccine class that is making a significant contribution to containing the COVID19 pandemic. Many other RNA-based vaccines are in preparation, and RNA-based active ingredients are also of great importance for the treatment of cancer and serious hereditary diseases. But they can also be used for biological pest control in agriculture. This makes them an alternative to chemical pesticides or the use of genetically modified plants. Chemical pesticides pollute the soil and groundwater and often have an unspecific effect, in that they also damage beneficial organisms. RNA-based organic pesticides, on the other hand, have a highly selective effect on the plant pests that are to be combated.
However, the production of large quantities of RNA-based active ingredients is technically demanding and also cost-intensive. For this reason, the CeBiTec researchers are working with SenseUp Gmbh, an expert in modern production development, to create production processes that can be used to produce RNA with the help of microorganisms. In this way, the required amounts of RNA can be made available inexpensively for medical as well as agricultural use.
Handover of the funding notification: Dr. Georg Schaumann (SenseUp GmbH), Prof. Dr. Jörn Kalinowski (CeBiTec, Universität Bielefeld) and Thomas Rachel, Parliamentary State Secretary in the BMBF.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich