Pinpoint healing for infected cells

The SARS-CoV2-pandemic has raised our awareness of the specific needs of groups that face greater risks from the virus. Autoimmune diseases affect 5-8 percent of the population. At Potsdam Science Park, Rodos Biotarget GmbH is getting closer to an innovative new treatment approach for pinpoint healing of infected cells.

Autoimmune diseases: When our bodies fail to defend themselves

In addition to the elderly, people suffering from overshooting of the immune system or of certain autoimmune diseases are exposed to an increased likelihood of catching infectious diseases or experiencing more serious symptoms.

Many of us underestimate the number of people affected by this problem: worldwide, 5-8 percent of the population is currently affected by about 80-100 different autoimmune diseases. Some, such as diabetes mellitus type 1 and multiple sclerosis, are showing a steady increase in frequency in recent years. At least statistically, each of us knows at least one person suffering from an autoimmune disease.

But how exactly do these diseases affect the body? And why is their treatment so complicated? Dr. Marcus Furch, CEO of Rodos Biotarget GmbH, explains: “Such diseases effectively undermine our immune system by addressing the cells in charge of it. Treatment often fails because contemporary medication in many cases does not ideally transport its active ingredients to the affected body cells only, but also to healthy cells, thus causing side-effects that limits its therapeutic use.”

A navigation system to target infected cells

At Potsdam Science Park, Furch and his team have committed themselves to change the status quo: Usually, Rodos Biotarget concentrates on infectious diseases and operates from its headquarters in Hannover. With its “TargoSphere” technology, the company has developed a “navigation system” that uses so called “nano-transporters” to optimize the body’s own logistics for medication and aims to deliver active ingredients to their cell-specific destination. Effectively, the startup has developed a platform technology that can dock onto different target cells and supply them with a variety of drug classes with pinpoint precision. “Our motivation to develop this technology was to create something with positive effects that patients with chronic conditions can experience in their everyday lives. Potentially, our method can reduce side effects and enhance the therapeutic effect with lower doses of medication. For some medication, it may also reduce manufacturing costs in the long term, making them more affordable to many people.”

A place with perspective

For its expansion to autoimmune diseases, Rodos very deliberately decided to move its respective project management to the Potsdam Science Park in order to profit from the locational advantages at Potsdam-Golm. “Here, we can plug in to an existing network of people working on autoimmune diseases, both from business and research, such as the Max-Planck Institute.”, Furch says: “So it was mainly about getting into the right environment and company to do this kind of work.” He also points out the potential for growth that the location offers his company: “To us, Potsdam Science Park is a place with perspective.”

While the company at Golm currently concentrates on project management with a very selected team, Furch says that he and his colleagues are already evaluating their options to also conduct laboratory activities there. “In the long-term, the question is less if we will expand to lab work at the Science Park but more about when and to what extent.” When he discusses his firm’s plans for Potsdam-Golm, he quickly arrives at the attractiveness of the capital region, especially when it comes to finding the right talent: “In our field, we have to attract some of the brightest minds to work with us. People rightfully expect that their workplace is also a nice place to live. So the closeness to vibrant cities like Berlin and Potsdam with its UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beautiful surroundings obviously is an advantage.”

When Rodos Biotarget succeeds and applies its technology to autoimmune diseases, the company will undoubtedly achieve a medical revolution that changes the lives of many patients for the better – and make the world look quite differently at this unique Science Park in Brandenburg

Photo: Dr. Marcus Furch, CEO of Rodos Biotarget GmbH

This blog and the projects of the location management at the Potsdam Science Park (Standortmanagement Golm GmbH) are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the State of Brandenburg.