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Eleven million euros for the Drug Discovery Hub Dort­mund

Hands of a scientist holding an Erlenmeyer flask with a pink liquid in a lab © Jürgen Huhn
The DDHD acts as an incubator for drug discovery research projects from all over NRW.

The Drug Discovery Hub Dort­mund (DDHD) is the name of the new initiative at the Center for Integrated Drug Research (ZIW) of TU Dort­mund University, which was launched in April. Scientists from eight institutions are pooling their diverse expertise here in order to jointly establish an infrastructure for drug research in NRW. In addition to TU Dort­mund University, the following institutions are involved: the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology (MPI), the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors at TU Dort­mund University (IfADo), the Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences – ISAS – e.V., Taros GmbH & Co. KG, PROvendis GmbH, the BioMedizinZentrum Dort­mund (BMZ) and the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC).

The project has a total volume of eleven million euros over three years. It is funded by the state of NRW and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the NRW Research Infrastructures program. Through a synergistic infrastructure, the DDHD aims to bridge the critical innovation gap between basic academic research and industrial application. Since the process of drug development is extremely complex, an interdisciplinary cooperation of a multitude of scientific disciplines is necessary. The eight partners form a unique network in Dort­mund.

The DDHD acts as an incubator for drug discovery research projects from all over NRW. In cooperation with the collecting society PROvendis, the results of the excellent drug research in the state are to be increasingly transferred into economic projects. Discoveries from basic academic research are to be successively developed into industry-ready lead structures. In concrete terms, innovative lead structures for drugs are to be optimized in such a way that they meet the high standards of the pharmaceutical industry in all areas. The molecular lead structures will be led back into research in order to be investigated in in-depth studies. If successful, the products will then be accepted by the pharmaceutical industry and developed to market maturity. Alternatively, individual projects can also be transferred to spin-offs and further developed there. The lead substances for the optimization of drugs come from universities and academic institutions throughout NRW.

Important contribution to strengthening Dort­mund as a biotechnology location

“We are very pleased about this funding, which will enable us to build up a unique infrastructure and implement innovative projects,” said Professor Daniel Rauh, coordinator of the DDHD and Professor of Chemical Biology and Medical Chemistry at TU Dort­mund University. “As an integrative initiative, the DDHD stands for the scientific competence field ‘Biomedicine and Drug Research’ of the Dort­mund Master Plan Science. It makes an important contribution to strengthening Dort­mund as a biotechnology location and North Rhine-Westphalia as a location for innovation. Together with complementary projects such as the ‘Medical Chemistry in Dort­mund’ project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the DDHD underlines the nationwide importance of Dort­mund as a location for early drug research.”

“The DDHD initiative will further strengthen the translational activities in Dort­mund and the pioneering role of the location in early drug research,” added Dr. Bert Klebl, scientific director and managing director of the LDC. “We see the grant as confirmation and support for interdisciplinary cooperation between the various academic and industrial partners on site and in the state of NRW”.

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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Universität"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the university: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Universität S".

Dort­mund Airport offers flights to several destinations in Central Europe. There are regular connections to Katowice, Kraków, London and Munich. For the approximately 20km-trip from Dort­mund Airport to TU Dort­mund University, you can use a shuttle bus to the railway Station "Bahnhof Holzwickede", from which trains depart to Dort­mund main station (please visit Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr for more information). Normally, the fastest way is to catch a taxi at Dort­mund Airport.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Universität S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.