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Nucleic Acid Isar valley begins work

Am 1. Mai 2023 hat unser Zukunftscluster für Nukleinsäure-Therapeutika CNATM seine Arbeit aufgenommen. CNATM besteht aus Wissenschaftlern und Wissenschaftlerinnen der federführenden Universitäten der  LMU und der TUM, unter Beteiligung der Universitäten von Regensburg und Würzburg, dem Helmholtz-Zentrum München und 14 Unternehmen aus der Region im Großraum München.

CNATM – Cluster for Nucleic Acid Therapeutics Munich

CNATM is on of the seven winners of the Clusters4Future initiative of the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The annual funding amounts to 5 million euro and is provided by the BMBF, the state of Bavaria an the industrial partners. The research consortium consists of research groups from the leading universities LMU and TU, researchers from the universities of Regensburg and Würzburg, as well as the Helmholtz center Munich, and 14 industrial partners from the Munich area.

A total of 22 applications were successful in obtaining funding, marking the start of the Nucleic Acid Isar Valley.

CNATM's multilateral collaborations are creating a network to develop novel nucleic acid-based agents and next-generation vaccines.

Recent discoveries give hope that the ability to design nucleic acids in a highly specific and theoretically predictable way will open up completely new therapeutic approaches in medicine and thus help many people.

There is no class of substances that is better suited for personalized medicine than nucleic acids. Our Cluster4future wants to aid nucleic acid therapies to make a breakthrough and a valuable contribution: curing people and creating jobs in and around Munich.

Our vision

CNATM is creating a network from which to develop novel nucleic acid-based drugs and next-generation vaccines. Until now, nucleic acids have eluded drug development. In particular, the "delivery" function of nucleic acids, as well as their stabilization, has hindered drug development. Recent discoveries in the field of mRNA vaccines, but also in the field of nucleic acid therapies, now give hope that nucleic acids will soon be available as new "weapons" in the fight against previously untreatable diseases. The ability to design nucleic acids in a highly specific and theoretically predictable way opens up completely new therapeutic approaches in medicine.

There is no substance class better suited to personalized medicine than nucleic acids. Our Cluster4future wants to help nucleic acid therapies achieve a breakthrough on a broad front. New "prodrug" concepts are to be developed for the development of the substance class as anti-viral, anti-cancer or immune modulators. Nucleic acids are being worked on in the cluster either as novel siRNAs (small interfering ribonucleic acids) or antisense oligonucleotides (short-chain, synthetic, single-stranded nucleic acids).

The targeted chemical modification of nucleic acids using click chemistry methods, will allow the combination of many synthesized small units that are addressing the various problems. This will enable targeted binding at the site of action and penetration of the substances into cells.

These new developments will be used to generate new next-generation mRNA vaccines. In addition These approaches will therefore be accompanied by the development of new lipid and polymer strategies for the targeted delivery of the nucleic acids into cells.

What distinguishes us


We are currently working on 11 projects, so-called CNATM Work Packages, in the fields of mono- and dinucleotides, oligonucleotides, delivery and formulation of nucleic acid therapeutics, as well as mRNA agents and other principles.

Our contribution to the High-Tech Strategy 2025

By establishing nucleic acid therapeutics and the value creation based on them, CNATM will make decisive contributions in all three fields of action of the German government's High-Tech Strategy 2025.

At CNATM scientists from very different disciplines are working together to achieve these goals. Researchers in chemistry are developing new nucleic acid chemistry methods. Scientists from biochemistry and cell biology are exploring sites and principles of action. Pharmacists are testing active substances, and researchers in polymer chemistry are developing new delivery strategies. The medical scientists in the cluster focus their scientific efforts on the areas with the highest unmet medical needs.

With the development of the first mRNA vaccine, Germany currently has a small lead in drug development, which will be continuously expanded and further developed.


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