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Start a Company

DKFZ has a history of encouraging and promoting start-up companies based on the inventions discovered at DKFZ/DKTK. Often the inventors are the founders of the companies. When scientists at the DKFZ set up their own company in which they bring to market the fruits of their research and development produced at the DKFZ, we speak of a spin-off. As part of the agreements with the companies, DKFZ normally takes an equity stake in the start-up.
You can find further information in the FAQs.

We can help by:

  • Advising on resources available to you from DKFZ (e.g. facilities, equipment, legal and financial support)
  • Structuring license agreements to enable you  to use research findings and/or patents as per standard market terms and conditions
  • Training & mentorship (also in legal and tax questions)
  • Terms of balancing your research and spin-off responsibilities
  • Contract negotiation
  • Assisting obtaining funding: Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V., Helmholtz Enterprise Förderung, Helmholtz-Validierungsfonds (HVF), EXIST Förderung, ifm - Institut für Mittelstandsforschung at the University of Mannheim, chambers of commerce and industry, High-Tech Gründerfonds etc.


Some other funding available for validation and spinout formation:


Because DKFZ is a member of Heidelberg Startup Partners you can also get access to more funding schemes, free mentorship, investor network and a variety of high quality training and networking events.

DKFZ can hold an equity of up to 25 percent in the spin-off for a period of eight years. To avoid being a drain on the company’s liquidity, however, the DKFZ can elect to waive its right to down payments for licensed patents and accept shares and royalties in lieu.

PROGEN Biotechnik GmbH, a company specializing in in vitro diagnostic agents and recombinant antibodies, is a DKFZ spin-off dating from 1983. Another such spin-off is mtm laboratories AG, which develops, manufactures, and distributes products for the early detection and diagnosis of cervical cancer. Founded in 2000 from within the DKFZ, Affimed Therapeutics AG develops recombinant antibodies to treat various diseases and cancer in particular. Cancer, alongside inflammatory diseases, is also the main target of Apogenix GmbH, a spin-off committed to developing active substances to act on apoptosis (programmed cell death) and uncontrolled cell growth.

For more questions contact

To see more examples of DKFZ spin-offs please visit the pages below.

Links to DKFZ-associated start-ups

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