Germany-Based Companies Open Lab Space in U.S.


There are several recent announcements of German companies opening laboratories in the U.S. It is probably not related to the recent news that the U.S. Justice Department gave Germany-based Bayer and U.S.-based Monsanto the go-ahead for their merger. Due to anti-trust issues, Monsanto has to sell about $9 billion in assets, and European regulators also required the sale of $2.54 billion in assets, which are being sold to BASF. The deal is expected to close by the end of June. After the various divestment, the combined agricultural supplies company will have sales of about 20 billion euros.

Reuters noted, “Bayer’s move to combine its crop chemicals business, the world’s second-largest after Syngenta AG, with Monsanto’s industry-leading seeds business, is the latest in a series of major agrochemicals tie-ups. U.S. chemicals giants Dow Chemical and DuPont merged in September 2017 and are now in the process of splitting into three units. In other consolidation in the sector, China’s state-owned ChemChina purchased Syngenta and two huge Canadian fertilizer produces merged to form a new company, now called Nutrien. Bayer committed to selling its entire cotton, canola, soybean and vegetable seeds businesses and digital farming business, as well as its Liberty herbicide, which competes with Monsanto’s Roundup.”

InflaRx NV, based in Jena, Germany, announced it has opened a new research laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is part of InflaRx Pharmaceuticals, a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of the InflaRx NV group. The company focuses on inflammatory diseases, specifically by targeting the complement system, a key aspect of the innate immune system.

The company launched an initial public offering on the Nasdaq in November 2017, and recently had a follow-on offering. The company expects to release data from its Phase IIb clinical trial for IFX-1 in the first half of 2019.

IFX-1 is a first-in-class monoclonal anti-complement factor C5a antibody being developed to treat hidradenitis suppurativa. This is a dermatological disease that typically beings as pimple-like bumps on the skin, but often occur on the underarms and groin.

“At InflaRx, our primary focus is to discover and develop complement-based therapeutics that can change the way inflammatory diseases are treated by providing innovative solutions for patients with currently unmet medical needs,” said Niels Riedemann, InflaRx’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “The opening of InflaRx’s new research site in Ann Arbor, the city where our co-founder and CSO, Renfeng Guo, and I met and conducted our post-graduate studies researching the complement system, highlights the company’s strong connection to cutting-edge science and dedication to innovation.”

Similarly, Centogene, headquartered in Rostock, Germany, announced it was opening its first U.S.-based rare disease laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The new facility will open on August 1 and will be the primary point of contact for the company’s collaboration partners.

The new space will include a state-of-the-art high-throughput genetic testing laboratory as well as biochemical, proteomic, metabolomics and genetic analysis capabilities.

“Centogene is one hundred percent focused on translating rare disease genetics into medical breakthroughs and we are thrilled to continue our global expansion into the preeminent biotech hub of Cambridge,” said Arndt Rolfs, chief executive officer and founder of Centogene, in a statement. “As a company that is at the nexus of elucidating rare hereditary diseases by combining proteomic, metabolomics and genomic solutions, we look forward to working even more closely with our pharmaceutical, academic and medical partners in the U.S.”

Centogene is one of the largest genetic testing companies in the world, offering the leading proprietary human genetic interpretation database, CentoMD.

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