Next Generation Drug Design

The goal of the TUM Innovation Network Next Generation Drug Design (NextGenDrugs) is to act as a pioneer for completely new approaches in drug development. In particular in the field of cancer medicine, but also in infectious diseases, such approaches are urgently needed and are now accessible due to recent developments in the life sciences. NextGenDrugs brings together experts from medicine, life sciences, chemistry and computational sciences to jointly realize this goal.

Within NextGenDrugs, we will spearhead the development of drugs with a new mode of action: Can we specifically modulate cellular protein-networks to kill cancer cells? In parallel, we will develop completely new classes of biomolecules as targets for cancer therapy. In order to fight cancer cells while sparing the body's own cells, another focus of NextGenDrugs is to increase the targeting specificity of drugs. In addition to new approaches in cancer therapy, there is an urgent need for action in the field of infectious diseases. For the first time, we will intervene in the communication of bacteria with their host to circumvent resistances arising from classical therapies.

Our Team

Doctoral theses

  • 5-splice site assemblies (Niklas Dold)
  • Interkingdom signalling in next-generation drug design (Agnieszka Gaska)
  • Identification of New Bacterial Cytokine receptors as potential Drug Targets (Jonathan Held)


  1. Montero, J.J., Trozzo, R., Sugden, M., Öllinger, R., Belka, A., Zhigalova, E., Waetzing, P., Engleitner, T., Schmidt-Supprian, M., Saur, D., and Rad, R. (2023). Genome-scale pan-cancer interrogation of lncRNA dependencies using CasRx. Nature Methods.
  2. Aschenbrenner, I., Böckler, M., Franke, F., Liebl, K., Catici, D., Brandl, M., Behnke, J., and Feige, M.J. Development of an enabling platform biotechnology for the production of proteins (2023). Biological Chemistry, [submitted for pulication]
  3. Chen, SY., and Zacharias M. (2023). What Makes a Good Protein−Protein Interaction Stabilizer: Analysis and Application of the Dual-Binding Mechanism, ACS Central Science.
  4. Chen, SY., Koch, M., Chávez-Gutiérrez, L., and Zacharias M. (2023). How Modulator Binding at the Amyloidβ-γ-Secretase Interface Enhances Substrate Binding and Attenuates Membrane Distortion, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.