Quicker development of strains for industrial biotechnology

GO-Bio 6 – Dr. Stephan Binder, Dr. Georg Schaumann – Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, IBG-1: Biotechnologie | SenseUp GmbH

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Recipient: Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.09.2014 - 30.06.2017, 2.535.687 Euro)

Recipient: SenseUp GmbH
Funding: GO-Bio Phase II (01.07.2017 - 30.06.2020, 3.265.805 Euro)


Microorganisms are the high achievers in the field of biotechnology. Bacteria or fungi turn renewable raw materials into valuable products, including amino acids, polymer building blocks or medicinal substances. For microbes to perform such feats for industrial-scale production, it is first necessary to optimise their genetic equipment.

However, when developing strains for production organisms, biotechnologists are frequently confronted with limitations. Here, the most common approach involves triggering random genetic changes in the genome of the microorganisms and then analysing the billions of differently modified microorganisms for their properties and abilities. The kinds of screening processes are complicated and prone to be incomplete. A team headed by Stephan Binder and Georg Schendzielorz has developed an innovative approach to strain development that makes this process significantly quicker and more effective. The Jülich researchers have named their concept High-Throughput Screening & Recombineering (HTSR). This HTSR technology has already been applied successfully in the development of strains for amino acid production.

In the first phase of GO-Bio funding, the team is hoping to expand the technology into a platform that will find application in the development of new microbes for industrial amino acid production. The technology is also set for continued development towards a transfer to other production organisms, among others for the manufacture of industrial products, including polymer precursors or biopharmaceutical active ingredients. The overarching objective of the soon-to-be-founded company: the development of highly productive microbial production strains for customers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

After the founding team led by Dr. Schaumann (formerly Schendzielorz) successfully demonstrated in the first GO-Bio funding phase that the development of new microbial production strains can be made much more efficient with the self-developed "SenseUp process", the company of the same name was founded in 2017.

In the current second GO-Bio funding phase, the primary objective is now to transfer the SenseUp technology to an industrial scale. Ultimately, this will enable the identification of the most productive strains on the basis of specific sensor signals directly from the production scale.