Open Innovation

Bayer CoLaborator Berlin, Germany

Global Enterprise Meets Life Science Startups


Bayer’s CoLaborator R&D incubators in Berlin and San Francisco are among Bayer’s five science and innovation hubs worldwide.

Young life-science companies work on their innovations in rental wet-labs and offices on the Bayer campuses.

The incubator concept has led to many fruitful contacts and collaboration projects.

Developing innovative medicines without the latest scientific insights is unthinkable – which makes collaboration a necessity. Five Bayer science and innovation hubs around the globe form close ties among scientific networks, universities and research institutes, local startup communities and pharmaceutical companies. The CoLaborator Berlin is one of them: It fosters the exchange between Bayer and the startup scene in the German capital.

Opened in May 2014 as the second Bayer CoLaborator site – San Francisco was first – the Berlin CoLaborator realizes a startup incubator concept. Startups whose work is related to Bayer’s pharmaceutical R&D focus are offered rental office and lab space on the company’s campus. Working side by side has inspired fruitful scientific discussion and sparked new collaboration ideas.

Networking starts outside the office door

As in every lively office, coffee machines and corridors are the place to meet and network. Dr. Jörg Knäblein (right), who supports the CoLaborator tenants in all practical matters, talks to Dr. Grit Zahn from Eternygen. The startup focuses on the research and development of new drugs for dietary-related metabolic diseases, e.g. diabetes mellitus.

Startups, academia, and Bayer: Partners in biomarker research

Meanwhile in provitro’s CoLaborator office, Dr. Manrico Paulitschke (provitro) and Dr. Arndt Schmitz (Bayer) meet with pathologist Dr. Korinna Jöhrens from the University Hospital Charité in Berlin (from left to right). provitro tests biomarker candidates for Bayer using their automated analysis approach in immunohistochemistry. Dr. Jöhrens’ clinical expertise helps evaluate the data, so Bayer scientists can correlate test results and the effects of a specific drug candidate.

Berlin is green: Talking antibodies outdoors

Berlin is known for its many parks and green spots. The Bayer campus is no exception. Next to the outdoor chessboard, Dr. Michael Drosch from Calico, Dr. Christoph Schatz from Bayer’s Biomarker Research, and Dr. Manrico Paulitschke from provitro (from left to right) discuss their cooperation. While Calico produces antibodies for pharmaceutical and biotech companies (including Bayer) provitro provides tissue samples for antibody testing.

The United States ambassador visits the CoLaborator

Close to the political center of Berlin, the headquarters of Bayer’s Pharmaceutical division attracts visitors. The US Ambassador to Germany, John B. Emerson, and his wife Kimberly Marteau Emerson (middle), arrive Berlin-style: by bike. At the CoLaborator, they meet with the entrepreneurs from the US startup Calico. In the photo, Dr. Robert Pytela (on the right) explains Calico’s work to the guests.

R&D symposium on protein biomarkers: multiplexed immunoassays from NMI

A symposium on protein biomarkers, organized by contract research provider NMI TT Pharmaservices and Bayer, is held at the CoLaborator. Biochemist Dr. Thomas Joos (NMI) introduces his institution’s expertise on multiplexed immunoassays for biomarker research and a proprietary protein profiling technology. Both are offered through NMI’s lab in the CoLaborator.

R&D symposium on protein biomarkers: Biobanking at Bayer

Bayer scientist Dr. Arndt Schmitz is also among the speakers: He shares concepts and case studies on biobanking and biomarkers based on his experience working with the Bayer Research Biobank.

R&D symposium on protein biomarkers: Lively scientific exchange

Talking shop between sessions: Dr. Manrico Paulitschke (provitro, left) and Professor Manfred Dietel from the University Hospital Charité in Berlin. Events like this symposium greatly help intensify the lively scientific exchanges among Bayer, the local startup scene and the biomedical research community.

Life-Sciences Pitch & Network: Startups compete for funding

At the “Life Sciences Pitch & Network” event in the CoLaborator a few days later, startups from Israel, the United States and Germany present their projects to potential investors and Bayer. Representing the startup GENOOX from Israel, Amir Trabelsi introduces the audience to a data platform for genetic analysis. Young companies participating in the Life Sciences Pitch & Network event competed for funding. The event was organized by a group of partners to mark the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli relations.

Grants4Apps startup works at the CoLaborator

In 2015, the CoLaborator welcomed two digital startups from the Grants4Apps Accelerator program who used the facilities in addition to the Accelerator’s coworking space. One of them is Sendinaden from China: They developed a smart breathing mask that detects dysfunctional breathing patterns.

Life-science in the heart of Berlin: The Bayer CoLaborator

25 years after the reunification of Germany, Berlin is attracting visitors, particularly young people, from all over the world. The Bayer CoLaborator benefits from its location close to the city center of Berlin, which is regarded as one of the most dynamic creative hubs worldwide.

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