In the pursuit of the development of innovative pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, it is not sufficient to work with established technologies. True progress often requires the creation of a new base. Therefore, Roche invests extensively in the development of new technologies. Pharmaceuticals research at Roche resulted in the development of innovative technologies for the study of new active agents that can be used to precisely determine the effectiveness of individual substances. New methods developed at Roche are also used for investigating the safety of new biopharmaceuticals. A complex method for searching for medically relevant biomarkers was established in the course of diagnostics research. We are also working intensively on new technologies for perfecting diagnostic systems.
Tumor blood perfusion made visible - in a living organism
Using noninvasive imaging methods, Penzberg researchers can visualize the perfusion of a tumor in a living animal thus providing important information in the search for active agents to inhibit the formation of new vessels in tumors. Serial CT is used to observe how a contrast agent travels from the vascular system to the tumor. Special software visualizes and quantifies the extent of perfusion in different areas of the tumor. The image shows areas with high perfusion (light colors). Regions with poor perfusion (green and blue) are displayed as dark colors.
Vascular architecture in 3D
Researchers in Penzberg have now developed a technology for viewing vascular architecture in tumors. The vessels are marked with a special fluorescent dye. The 3D image of the vessels can then be reconstructed using modern imaging methods. Software also developed in Penzberg is used to precisely quantify different parameters of the vascular architecture with respect to length, diameter, volume, and even the number of vascular branches. Precise quantification of these different parameters provides pharmaceuticals researchers with important data for the selection of active agents that inhibit the formation of vessels in tumors and thus block tumor growth.
Our own safety concept for biopharmaceuticals
Patient safety is the top priority at Roche. Therefore, we develop our own innovative safety concepts for our innovative biopharmaceuticals. At the Penzberg site a multidisciplinary team is working to clarify the complex relationship between therapeutic proteins and organisms. For example, the team is investigating how therapeutic proteins are distributed in the body, where they accumulate, and how they are broken down.
The central question relates to immunogenicity: Does the therapeutic protein trigger an immune response in the patient? Are antibodies formed that impact effect or result in side effects? Every active agent undergoes a customized safety evaluation.
Inventors Award for non-contact dosing system
Once a year the best invention for which a patent application has been submitted in the last twelve months in the area of diagnostics research is awarded the Inventors Award. Winner in 2013: A team at the Mannheim site that developed an innovative dosing module for diagnostic systems. In today's automatic analyzers, a pipette is used to extract reagents from the storage vial and then add them to the sample. Cross-contamination of the substances can occur. The new award-winning system is contact-free. The scientists in Mannheim developed a cartridge on which a dispenser functioning according to the injection principle allows highly precise dosing of the smallest quantities of reagents. The Roche team collaborated with six companies as part of a leading-edge cluster sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Research.