Press Release 031/2016

Molecule Archive: Central Sample Bank for Research

Substances Developed for Research Are to Be Preserved for Science / KIT Establishes International Archive for Molecules and Active Substances
The Compounds Platform (ComPlat) archives substances and facilitates supply of reference material. The ComPlat equipment may be used by researchers free of charge. (Photo: KIT)

Usually, chemical compounds and active substances developed under a research project are disposed of in the end, although they are of high scientific value and might be further used. In the next three years, KIT will establish the “Compounds Platform” (ComPlat), a central archive to collect such substances and to make them available to scientists worldwide. This new infrastructural facility for research has now been approved of for funding as a core facility by DFG.


“We want to prevent the substances that have been produced with much time, know-how, and effort from being lost for science and plan to make them available for further use in research,” the Head of the Institute of Organic Chemistry (IOC), Professor Stefan Bräse, says. Contrary to already existing international “Compound Storage Facilities”, the platform in Karlsruhe is planned to archive not only so-called lead molecules that are interesting candidates for the development of active substances in pharmaceutical research. The platform rather is to archive, list, and make available all stable compounds to research groups working in the areas of synthetic chemistry, biology, or other disciplines.


“By means of ComPlat, we will preserve important reference material and facilitate execution of research projects requiring many substances and preliminary work with a lot of molecules,” the expert says. The system has already started prototype operation with a limited group of about 20 users in the areas of biology and chemistry. The substances that are frozen and stored in milligram or gram amounts are sent by mail to clients of universities and non-university research institutions. In the course of the next years, the platform is to be opened to clients all over Germany and other international institutions.


“We want to grow by integrating additional partners supplying substances and, of course, researchers using these substances,” Ste-fan Bräse says. In the future, the new core facility is to make available a maximum amount of molecule types to the research community in an uncomplicated manner. ”It is our objective to establish an international platform that can be accessed by all academics.” The ComPlat equipment can be used by potential clients free of charge. The Compounds Platform is supported by the screening center of the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics which is optimally equipped for the preparation of substances by high-throughput methods. The Platform also includes an online registration system for the compounds, a virtual compound library, the infrastructure for storage, cataloging, and quality control of the compounds, as well as the corresponding services. In addition, ComPlat takes care of logistics and legal matters, such as patent rights or framework agreements. DFG will fund the project with about EUR 500,000 until February 2019.


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Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,600 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 23,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

kes, 03.03.2016


Monika Landgraf
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