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 service company Ascenion GmbH supports transfer points at five Helmholtz Centres specialising in the life sciences: the Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Reseach Centre for Environmental Health; the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine Berlin-Buch (MDC); the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI); the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE); and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). Ascenion’s headquarters are in Munich, but the contact persons for each Helmholtz Centre usually have offices in locations close to each centre. This is part of what makes the company unique in Germany. 

In 2001 four Helmholtz Association institutes set up an innovative technology transfer model, the Life-Science Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research, of which Ascenion is a 100-percent subsidiary. It was not just the organisational form that was new; the foundation’s specialisation in a specific sector, the life sciences, was a further novelty. The life sciences are a particularly challenging area as it usually takes years for laboratory findings to be transferred into practice due to the need for long-term clinical studies. Researchers working in this area require a great deal of patience and considerable funds, often in the form of risk capital. 

In order to address these challenges, Ascenion GmbH has put together a skilled team of technology managers, analysts, marketing specialists, lawyers and consultants, many of whom have a life sciences background. They work closely with Helmholtz Association scientists and patent departments in order to identify research findings that could be of commercial value, to secure them with patents and to bring them to market. Ascenion also helps fledgling companies to spread their wings and brokers and negotiates licence and cooperation agreements with businesses. 

The figures prove that this model of a technology transfer agency specialising in life sciences really can work. 

Today, researchers from a total of 25 different research institutes make use of Ascenion’s services. These institutes do not just come from the Helmholtz Association but also from the Leibniz Association and the Hannover Medical School. Ascenion supervises almost 30 business ventures and can offer its industrial partners a portfolio of over 700 patented technologies and commercially viable materials. These include diagnostic and treatment procedures for cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s, antibodies, and instruments and software for medical technology, biotechnology, environmental technology and plant cultivation. 

Ascenion’s profits are channelled back into research. Between 2003 and 2010 the company made a total of €16 million. Since then almost all of the Helmholtz Centres involved have been able to bring a drug to market. These include the Removab antibody used to treat malignant ascites, developed by Helmholtz Zentrum München; the cancer drug Ixempra from the HZI; and the MT103 antibody that directs the human immune system to act 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. Sigrid Scheek and Dr. Hubert Müller



 Tel.: +49 89 3187 2850

Dr.-Ing. Thilo Förster


Coordination: Dr. Stefanie Possekel

possekel(at) 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


Dr. Torben Söker: DZNE Bonn

soeker (at)


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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