CI3 immunotherapy cluster wins the Leading-Edge Cluster competition held by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

More than EUR 80 million in funding for the development of individualized forms of immunotherapy and diagnostics


The independent jury of the third round of the Leading-Edge Cluster competition organized by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has selected the winners of this competition from the eleven finalists. One of the winners is the CI3 – Cluster for Individualized Immune Intervention. Success in this competition guarantees a maximum of EUR 40 million in federal funding. This funding for the development of individualized immunotherapeutic and diagnostic products provides the CI3 biotech cluster from the Rhine-Main region with a substantial stimulus.

In addition to Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the Mainz University Medical Center, the cluster's participating institutions from the Rhine-Main metropolitan region include the Institute of Translational Oncology (TRON), the Mainz Institute of Microtechnology (IMM), the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) as well as companies such as Boehringer Ingelheim, Abbott, GENterprise Genomics, and Ganymed.

The CI3 proposal consisted of 78 project concepts requiring a total of approximately EUR 130 million support submitted by over 100 project partners from academic research institutions, small and medium-sized enterprises, and large industrial companies. These 78 project ideas include 50 collaborative projects, which underscores the high level of networking among the partners in the region. The funding approved by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which amounts to a maximum of EUR 40 million over a period of five years, will be matched by the CI3 partners and will make possible the development of a wide range of innovative products in the fields of individualized immunotherapy. The federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse will support the successful work conducted by CI3 with a substantial amount of additional funding.

Because individual characteristics differ from patient to patient, the success rates of drug treatments can also exhibit a wide range of variation. Thanks to the enormous progress made in genetic technology, it will now be possible to develop and use stratified and even individualized therapeutic strategies. Immunotherapies have an enormous potential as they make use of the vast range of endogenous mechanisms of the body that are used to fight disease. These customized therapies should make it possible to provide more accurately targeted and well tolerated, patient-friendly forms of medical treatment, in particular in the key focus areas of CI3: cancer, autoimmune diseases, and infections. The CI3 cluster brings together existing immunotherapeutic and diagnostic expertise in the Rhine-Main region.

The ultimate aim of CI3 is to help make the Rhine-Main region’s already successful pharmaceutical industry an international leader in the field of individualized immune intervention. CI3 offers a platform for stakeholders from the industry, research institutions, health care, and the political arena to network with each other and thus makes up an integral part in the entire chain of innovation and added-value.

Drawing on the Immunology Cluster of Excellence in Mainz, CI3 took over the coordination of the Rhine-Main region’s proposal for the competition over a year ago with substantial financial support from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and was able to gain additional support of more than 120 partners from the states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate to achieve their common goal.