About us

Sumaya Biotech

„Sumaya Biotech is a German GmbH (Limited Liability Company) & Co. KG and was founded as a spin-out from the University of Heidelberg by Prof. Dr. Hermann Bujard (scientific founder) and Dr. Ernst Böhnlein (Managing Director).  The focus of the company is on the clinical development of a novel, innovative Malaria vaccine based on the full-length MSP-1 protein. Sumaya Biotech has established a network of collaborations with external partners to advance the program at low cost without compromising experimental strategies, know-how and excellence.

Sumaya will operate without its own facility to reduce cost for “brick and mortar” and investment in scientific and office equipment. Sumaya has signed a collaboration agreement with the University. Under this agreement, Sumaya has access to laboratory space, and equipment. Sumaya also supports University scientific personnel to perform collaborative projects. In addition, Sumaya has signed an agreement with TET Systems GmbH, Heidelberg to sublease office space and IT infrastructure. This business model allows Sumaya an efficient operational start including clinical development at moderate costs.

Sumaya Biotech has submitted the „clinical trial application“ (CTA) documentation to the German regulatory agency (Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, PEI) and the ethical review board of the University of Heidelberg to obtain permission to test its vaccine candidate in healthy volunteers (Phase I clinical study) at the University of Heidelberg Medical Center. After completion of this first trial, Sumaya is planning to initiate the clinical development of its Malaria vaccine candidate(s) in Africa. Sumaya is currently raising funds to support the clinical development.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c Hermann Bujard

Hermann Bujard studied chemistry in Freiburg and Göttingen, Germany where, under the guidance of Hans Brockmann, he received his Diploma in organic chemistry in 1960 and was promoted to Dr.rer.nat. (PhD) in 1962.  He worked 5 years in the USA, first as postdoctoral fellow with Charles Heidelberger and Gobind Khorana at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., USA, and thereafter as assistant professor at the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies, Dallas, Texas. In late 1969, he moved to the University of Heidelberg as Professor of Molecular Genetics. In 1982 he accepted an offer by F. Hoffmann La Roche Ltd., Basel, as Head of Biological Research and Deputy Director. He returned to the University of Heidelberg in 1986 as Chairman of the newly founded Center for Molecular Biology (ZMBH). In 2007, he accepted the directorship of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) for a three year term and returned to the ZMBH in 2010. Reinstalled as “Senior Professor Distinctus” of the University of Heidelberg his research is in close collaboration with Prof. Dr. Michael Lanzer at the Department of Infectious Diseases, Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg.

Research interests

Hermann Bujard’s earlier research interests focused on nucleic acids, on protein–nucleic acid interactions and on mechanisms controlling gene expression at the transcriptional level. Applied spin-offs of these studies yielded novel approaches for the quantitative study in vivo of gene functions in pro- and eukaryotes. The so-called “Tet switch” has developed into a widely applied technology in biology and biomedicine. In his days at Hoffmann La Roche he developed a vivid interest in Malaria and the development of vaccines against infections of P. falciparum the causative agent of Malaria tropica. All his present research activities are devoted toward the latter goal. The Tet technology is commercialized by “TET Systems”, a company founded by H. Bujard and colleagues in 2003.

Honors and Awards – a selection

1964 International postdoctoral Fellow of the National Institute of Health, USA
1976 Elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization
1995 „Beckurts-Preis 1995“ for Achievements in Basic Research with Impact on Industrial Applications, Beckurts Foundation
1996 Elected Scientific Member of the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany
1996 Prix Yvette Mayent 1996 for Cancer Research, Institut Curie, Paris
2000 Honorary Doctorate, Faculty of Medicine, University of Würzburg, Germany
2005 Medal of Merit, State of Baden-Württemberg, Germany
2014 Robert-Koch-Medal in Gold for Life-time Achievements, Robert-Koch-Foundation, Germany

Dr. Ernst Boehnlein (Managing Director)

Dr. Boehnlein studied biology at the Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg and graduated in 1986. He received his post-doctoral training at Duke University and at the Howard Hughes Medical Center at Duke Medical Center in Durham, NC. In 1989, he joined the Sandoz Research Institute in Vienna, Austria as group leader. In 1993 he became Director at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals and transferred a gene therapy project to Palo Alto where he co-directed a Sandoz-sponsored joint research program (Progenesys) with SyStemix, Inc. In 1995 he became a Director at SyStemix, Inc. In 1997, he joined the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research as Executive Director in the Department of Arthritis and Bone Metabolism. In 2001, he moved back to Europe where he held senior management positions in start-up biotech companies in Düsseldorf, Göttingen and Munich. Since 2008, he is Managing Director at TET Systems in Heidelberg.