Press release: BIH to focus on new approaches for the personalized prevention and treatment of serious, unresolved health problems // First meeting of new Supervisory Board on June 29, 2016 // State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte (BMBF) elected as chairman

Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) is realigning its research focus in a bid to improve the quality of life of individuals with chronic and advanced diseases. New options for the personalized prevention of serious diseases and novel regenerative therapies are at the center of the new strategy. "We want to maintain or restore quality of life for individuals with serious, advanced diseases through personalized and regenerative medicine," said Chief Executive Officer Prof. Erwin Böttinger. "We are building on digitization, patient involvement, systems medicine research, novel regenerative therapies and innovation in the healthcare industry. The expertise of BIH’s corporate bodies, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in the Helmholtz Association, creates excellent starting conditions for our new strategic course."

The new Supervisory Board yesterday convened for its constituent meeting in Berlin. The Board elected State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) as chair and Senator Sandra Scheeres (Senate Department for Education, Youth, and Science of the state of Berlin) as deputy chair. The institute’s strategic realignment, its decisions on forward-looking construction projects for implementing the strategy, its business plan for 2017 and its corporate charter were top of the agenda at the meeting.

The year 2016 marks a new phase in BIH’s development, starting with the appointment of new Executive Board members and the chair. The institute’s strategic realignment follows two years of development work and institutional cooperation between Charité and MDC, paving the way for translational research in key areas.

The new approach aims to establish BIH and its corporate bodies as pioneers of a new model for results-oriented personalized healthcare through top-level translational research and innovation. BIH research will develop state-of-the-art diagnostics for making more precise predictions and new therapies for the prevention or reversion of serious diseases. Technology transfer is of special significance here. BIH wants to make biomedical research more innovative, more open and more reliable and plans to establish a Center for Transforming Biomedical Research (CTBR) to achieve this.

Newly elected Chairman of the Supervisory Board Dr. Georg Schütte (BMBF) is enthusiastic about BIH’s realignment strategy. "The adopted strategy focuses on innovative approaches to new personalized therapies for unresolved health problems, to the organization of translational research and to innovation structures. Now the institute can start implementing this strategy. We want BIH to be a frontrunner worldwide when it comes to developing innovative therapies that benefit patients."

At yesterday’s meeting, the Supervisory Board also approved the plans to renovate BIH’s Campus Mitte. As of 2017, a modern building dedicated to translational medicine, offering BIH and Charité some 13,000 m2 of usable floor space, will open its doors right next to Charité’s in-patient tower block. The building at Robert-Koch-Platz currently serves as the surgery and intensive care wing. "A central location is essential for long-term working capacity, for ensuring that all functions are interconnected, and for the growing number of research projects. Establishing a main BIH building in direct proximity to the medical care provided by Charité creates the perfect conditions for BIH’s point-of-care translational research," explains Scheeres. The Max Delbrück Center campus will also be home to a new BIH building, which will provide around 2,500 m2 of laboratory facilities for research groups.

The Berlin Senate appointed the new Supervisory Board in early May, replacing the Founding Supervisory Board set up in 2013. The Supervisory Board is made up of 15 members: three federal representatives, three representatives of the state of Berlin, one joint representative of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Freie Universität Berlin, one representative of the Helmholtz Association, one BIH member from Charité and one from MDC, the chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Board, and four external experts.