Finding the next cure for cancer, diabetes or obesity is not just about inventing a new drug. In order to develop truly revolutionary treatments, you need to unravel the inner workings of biological structures. Companies in biotech and pharmaceuticals want to collaborate closely with university researchers to figure out how biology works on the molecular level, but finding the right partner has been difficult. Untill now.
One-stop-shop for companies looking for know-how.
Now the University of Copenhagen is creating a structural biology cluster. A single entrance for companies to access state of the art equipment and experts on biomolecules from 16 departments covering everything from plant and food science through biology and biochemistry to medicine and pharmacology. The majority of the partners in the new cluster, ISBUC (Integrative Structural Biology at the University of Copenhagen), are housed in Copenhagen Science City. The aim of the cluster is to become a clear point of entry for external collaborators.
“Through the new cluster we are establishing precisely the state-of-the-art infrastructure required to make use of the expertise and advanced equipment at the University of Copenhagen. We also hope to help industry take advantage of the large facilities built in the region, ESS, MAX-IV and XFEL, to study cells and their biomolecules using a combined approach’, says Professor at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research Guillermo Montoya, who is one of the researchers who took the initiative to establish the cluster.
Combining disciplines for deep insight.
The various scientific fields typically have unique knowledge of specific technologies, but today there is a need for cross-disciplinary collaboration. By integrating all present knowledge and various experimental and computational techniques, researchers are able to gain a better, overall view of a given system. For example to appreciate how cells develop, work or malfunction.
More collaboration. Inside and out.
The ISBUC cluster, has been established to reinforce the conditions for collaboration and exchange of knowledge, technology and equipment across 16 departments at the university but these advanced technologies and facilities are also in demand outside the university – for example, among pharmaceutical and biotech companies and authorities:
’Modern science depends on a wide range of highly specialised techniques. Finding the right collaborators has been difficult; therefore, it is a huge advantage to be grouped in iSBUC with one readily accessible point of entry’, says Professor at the Department of Biology Birthe B. Kragelund.
Apart from applications in health and pharma, researchers working with structural biology may also produce insights useful in energy, green and sustainable technologies and in biomaterials.