The Frankfurt site of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) provides the FCI with access to extensive screening platforms and substance libraries that enable efficient, structure-based drug design and repurposing studies. For example, the SGC is developing highly specific cell-based inhibitors (chemical probes) that are ideal tools to identify and validate new cancer-related targets before further advancing the clinical development. The SGC Frankfurt site also coordinates the so-called Probe Program, in which pharmaceutical partners provide more than 70 well-characterized, highly selective inhibitors of disease-related proteins. Not only the physical substances but also the associated data (selectivity, pharmacokinetics, phenotype) are accessible. Many of these inhibitors have already been optimized for in vivo studies or have already been tested in clinical trials. These inhibitors are ideal for mechanistic studies and therefore of great value for research within the FCI. In addition, a Chemical Screening Platform will be set up which will be available to the FCI.
In parallel, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI) will introduce so-called DARPin libraries (designed ankyrin repeat proteins). DARPins can recognize and selectively inactivate appropriate target structures in tumor cells. The PEI has established the necessary selection procedures to generate DARPins against new target structures, which will be identified in projects in the FCI.
In addition to the possibility of developing molecularly targeted small-molecule drugs, Frankfurt also has production lines for cell-based drugs according to the GMP standard at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy. For example, the Georg-Speyer-Haus and the University Hospital have pioneered the development of CAR-NK cells for adoptive immunotherapy in recent years, and a first phase I trial has started in patients with relapsed ErbB2-positive glioblastoma.