Contact partners

Those managing the "transfer offices" at the Helmholtz Centres meet within the Technology Transfer and Commercial Legal Protection (TTGR) working group. There is also a central coordinator at the Helmholtz Association's head office. The technology transfer offices at the Helmholtz Centres are supported in particular by an external private partner.

Ascenion GmbH

The transfer points at five Helmholtz Centres – the German Research Center for Environment Health, Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) – are being supported in the life-sciences area by the Ascenion GmbH. The contact individuals for this nationwide unique service enterprise are located primarily on site. The head office for Ascenion is in Munich.

In 2001, four of the Helmholtz Association facilities created an innovative model for technology transfer – the “Life-Science Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research” – together with the subsidiary company Ascenion. This form of organisation was not the only thing that was new; specialisation on a specific sector – the life sciences was also new. This was a sophisticated field, involving transferring results from the laboratory into practice, which usually takes many years in the life sciences due, at least, to the requisite clinical studies. The participants need a lot of patience and considerable financial means, frequently in the form of risk capital.
In order to rise to this challenge, the Ascension GmbH put together a competent team consisting of technology managers, analysts, marketing experts, legal practitioners and enterprise consultants – many of them with bio-science backgrounds. They worked close together on site with the scientists and patent departments of the Helmholtz Association, in order to identify commercially interesting research results, to secure them through patents and to bring them into the market. Furthermore, Ascenion supports company founders on their way to independence and mediates and negotiates license and co-operation contracts with the business world.

The fact that the model for a technology transfer agency specialising in life sciences is successful, is documented by the figures:

Today scientists from 22 research facilities use the Ascenion services. They come not only from the Helmholtz Association, but also from the Leibniz Institutes, the Charité in Berlin and the Medical University of Hanover. Ascenion supervises more than 20 business holdings and offers their partners in industry a portfolio consisting of more than 750 patented technologies and commercially-attractive materials. This includes procedures for diagnosis and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s as well as anti-bodies, instruments and software for medical technology, bio-technology, environmental technology and plant cultivation.
The profits thus gained by Ascenion flow back into research. From 2003 to 2014, they amounted to more than 55M euros. In the meantime, a drug has emerged from nearly each one of the participating Helmholtz Centres that has found its way into the market: the antibody Removab developed at the German Research Center for Environmental Health in Munich for treatment of malignant dropsy (ascites), the cancer drug Ixempra originating from the HZI, as well as the antibody MT103 developed at MDC that is meant to activate the immune system against tumour cells.   


For the HZI:
Dr Sabina Heim and Dr Petra Köhler
Tel.: +49 531 6181 2090 und -91


For the MDC:
Dr Michael Karle and Dr Elisabeth von Weizsäcker
Tel: +49 30 948930-02 und -01


For the Helmholtz Zentrum München:
Dr-Ing Thilo Förster, Dr Hubert Müller and Dr Sigrid Scheek

Coordination: Dr. Stefanie Possekel
Tel.: +49 89 318814-0


For the DZNE:
Coordination: Dr Stefanie Possekel
Tel.: +49 89 318814-0

Dr Julia Eschenbrenner: DZNE Berlin, Dresden, Magdeburg
eschenbrenner (at)

Dr Petra Köhler: DZNE Göttingen
koehler (at)

Dr Hubert Müller: DZNE Bonn, München, Tübingen


For the HZDR:
Dr Thilo Förster
Tel.: +49 89 318814-0


For the KIT:
Coordination: Dr. Stefanie Possekel
Tel.: +49 89 318814-0

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  • Photo of Arne Meyer-Haake