CF Technology Transfer Unit (SPARK@FLI)

Translating discoveries from bench to bedside is a challenging process and allows us do advance scientific discoveries and ensures that government-funded research translates into improved health for our society. The SPARK training program helps to understand clinical needs, develops a target product profile and strengthens project management abilities. These essential tools not only increase the likelihood of success, but also help decrease both the cost and time required to accomplish this goal (“de-risking”).

The Transfer Unit supports research labs to develop small molecules or biologicals or treatments of unmet clinical needs, respectively, with the aim to advance projects for any indication with high potential impact. To achieve this goal we utilize a variety of molecular and cell based techniques as well as different animal models.

The facility offers advisory, financial and personnel support, including:

  • Funds to asses and to de-risk your project
  • Funds to actually run a project
  • Implementation and execution of assays, e.g. toxicity assay, dose-response assay
  • Advice from SPARK advisory board, consisting of experts with translational experience
  • Mentored project management support
  • Help to establish defensible Intellectual Property
  • Training on what translation is all about
  • Education on drug and diagnostic development
  • Introduction to of the SPARK international network

We are currently using and offering support for the following assays and techniques:

SPARK Projects 2016-2020

Indication Modality Title/Description Year
Aging Diet Novel dietary Interventions for treating Age-Related Hematopoietic DYSFUNCTION 2020-2022
Oncology Pharma - small molecule Novel treatment options for rhabdomyosarcoma 2020-2022
Regeneration Pharma - small molecule Stem cell mediated generation of cartilage 2019-2021
Aging IVD The nucleolus: Biomarker and target for healthy aging 2019-2021
Oncology Pharma - Peptide Novel treatment options for muscle regeneration 2018-2020
Oncology Pharma - small molecule Small molecule disruptors as a strategy for cancer therapy 2017-2019
Oncology Pharma - small molecule Novel target for triple negative breast cancer therapy 2017-2019
Oncology (Orphan Drug) Pharma - Peptide Peptide Replacement Therapy for treatment of Schwann cell-derived nerve sheath tumors 2016-2018
Inflammation Pharma - small molecule Novel therapeutic approaches for the Inflammatory Bowel Disease 2016-2018
Regeneration Pharma - Peptide Improving Myogenic activity of muscle stem cells 2016-2018
Regeneration Pharma - small molecule Development of chemical inhibitors for regenerative therapies 2016-2018
Oncology IVD Pharmacological Antimutators for Diagnosis, Research and Therapy 2016-2018

For further questions, please contact the CF manager Sonja Schätzlein.

The 6th Call for Proposals was placed with deadline of January 28th 2021. The project evaluation took place on February 18th 2021 in front of our international industry advisory committee.

SPARK Global Meeting: June 11-14th 2020, Helsinki Finland -> cancelled due to Corona Pandemic

This program is based on the highly successful SPARK program developed at Stanford University ( See also the SPARK INFO PACKAGE.

Topics covered during our educational seminars included

  • High Throughput screening in Academia
  • Technology transfer - How to deal with inventions and what Technology Transfer has to do with your day-to-day business (presentation, internal only)
  • Intellectual Property
  • How to build a Target Product Profile (presentation, internal only)
  • Introduction into Medicinal chemistry - How to assess and progress your initial screening hits (presentation, internal only)
  • Drug Discovery in Industry (presentation, internal only)
  • High Throughput screening in Academia
  • Pharmacokinetic/-dynamic/driven Drug Discovery
  • Reproducibility crisis, or: why most published research findings are false (presentation, internal only)
  • Organ on Chip (presentation, internal only)
  • Why can't I be Elon? Challenges of selling complex high-tech products to the world (presentation, internal only)
  • Patentability of Life Science Inventions: A comparison between European and US practice (presentation, internal only)
  • Transforming research to Business in the area of bioactive compounds: The case of nucleoside analogs (presentation, internal only)

We are always looking for speakers to cover the topics around Drug Development and Technology Transfer. Please contact Sonja Schätzlein for further information.

•    February 27th, 3-8PM: 5th SPARK FLI Project Evaluation (Invitation only)

•    March 11th, 5-7PM: SPARK Educational Forum “Basics of Intellectual Property (IP)”
-> rescheduled for Fall 2020 (October/November, TBA)

•    April 22nd, 5-7PM: SPARK Educational Forum “Medicinal Chemistry and hit to lead optimization”
-> rescheduled for Fall 2020 (September/October, TBA)

•    May rescheduled June 10th, 5-6PM: How to build your Target Product Profile (online webinar)

•    June 12-14th: SPARK Global Annual meeting (Helsinki, Finland)
-> cancelled due to Corona Pandemic

•    July 8th, 5-7PM: SPARK Educational Forum “How to market High Tech Products: Challenges and Pitfalls” (Seminar Room Golgi)

•    July: SPARKees Target Product Profile Presentation (Invitation only)

•    August 26th, 5-7PM: Drug Development in Industry (Seminar Room Golgi or webinar)

•    September (TBA): Educational Forum (Seminar Room Golgi or webinar)

•    October (TBA): SPARKees Project and Milestone update (Invitation only)

•    November (TBA): Educational Forum (Seminar Room Golgi)

•    December 11th, 9am-3pm: SPARK FLI Core Facility Evaluation (Invitation only)

    Internal users:
    A free sample of the published book, “SPARK: A Practical Guide to Drug Development in Academia”, by Daria Mochly-Rosen and Kevin Grimes will be given to our SPARKees.

    "SPARK Info Packet"

    External users:
    External guests are welcome to join our educational forum series (Wednesday 5-7PM in Golgi). Project presentations are only accessible with signed CDA.

    Additional Links:

    Team (incomplete due to Data protection)

    Sonja Schätzlein+49 3641 656836eMailCore Facility Managerin
    Sylke Pfeifer+49 3641 656303/6844eMailTechnische Assistentin
    Beate Szafranski+49 3641 656844eMailTechnische Assistentin
    Christoph Kaether+49 3641 656230eMailWissenschaftlicher Betreuer

    * unvollständig aufgrund DSGVO

    For publications of individual CF members:  publications search 


    Sonja Schätzlein
    CF Manager
    +49 3641 65-6836

    Christoph Kaether
    Scientific Supervisor

    Group Website

    Overview CF Technology Transfer (SPARK)