Phyto Valley in Tyrol set to expand

Establishment of Michael Popp Institute for Plant-based Active Ingredient Research

Innsbruck, 18 October 2017 – The Michael Popp Institute for Plant-based Active Ingredient Research, which was established today at the University of Innsbruck, is dedicated to learning more about the healing power of plants and producing effective herbal medicines through cutting-edge research. The two endowed professorships at the LFU (Leopold-Franzens University Innsbruck) will be funded by the State of Tyrol and the Michael A. Popp Nature Science Foundation. The costs for the research establishment, which will employ around 20 scientists and students, will be in the region of EUR 5 million over the next five years.

Professor Michael A. Popp obtained his doctorate and qualified as a professor in Innsbruck and lectures at the LFU alongside his position as CEO and proprietor of BIONORICA SE, one of the world's leading manufacturers of herbal medicines based in Neumarkt, Bavaria: “By establishing the institute, the University of Innsbruck and the region are aiming to position themselves as a centre for modern, scientifically-substantiated herbal medicines. We are continuing to develop this globally unique concentration of expertise in plant-based active ingredient research in what is known as 'Phyto Valley'.” Professor Popp continues: “The decoding of plant-based mechanisms of action using innovative technologies is also the foundation of our market success. We call this phytoneering.”

Phytoneering refers to the decoding of the extensive active ingredient potential of plants using cutting-edge research and innovative technologies to produce safe and effective herbal medicines. The word phytoneering is a combination of phyto (Greek for plant = decoding the extensive active ingredient potential of plants) and engineering (use of cutting-edge research and innovative technologies).

The purpose of the Michael Popp Institute for Plant-based Active Ingredient Research is to strengthen the discipline of pharmacognosy at the University of Innsbruck. The institute was established in order to conduct research, research transfer, teaching and communication tasks in the field of pharmcognosy with a focus on biogenic active ingredients derived from nature. These could reduce the unnecessary taking of antibiotics for viral illnesses and as a result counteract the increasing spread of antibiotic resistance.

Bionorica already operates an important research facility focusing on phyto-analysis in Tyrol – Bionorica research GmbH in Innsbruck. “The new Michael Popp Research Institute is a milestone in our endeavours to boost research in plant-based active ingredients over and beyond our company boundaries and to enable 'Phyto Valley Tyrol' to grow even more,” explains Professor Popp.

The contract on the funding of the endowment professorships by the Michael A. Popp Foundation was signed in an official ceremony today by Professor Popp and LFU Rector Tilman Märk in the presence of the Governor of Tyrol, Günther Platter. In the next five years the Michael A. Popp Foundation will provide more than EUR 3 million for the new institute.

“Research and development is a success formula for Tyrol as a place to do business. Together with the University of Innsbruck and Bionorica as a strong business partner, the groundwork is being laid for a 'phyto valley' in Tyrol. I would like to thank Professor Popp for his confidence in the Tyrolean expertise that is needed to obtain highly effective active medicinal ingredients from plants,” emphasises Governor Platter. In addition to the funding by the Michael A. Popp Nature Science Foundation, the State of Tyrol will be providing a total of EUR 1.5 million starting in 2018 for a five-year endowment professorship for the Michael Popp Research Institute.

Corporate profile

Patients want effective and tolerable medications and so herbal medicines are the preferred option. Bionorica, located in Neumarkt in the Oberpfalz region, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of scientifically researched herbal medicines. Doctors, pharmacists and patients in more than 47 countries trust in the effective products with few side effects. In 2016, Bionorica SE achieved a net turnover of EUR 253.1 million. The company’s equity ratio is around 77 per cent. Every day, over 1,500 employees at 19 Bionorica locations worldwide work on the continuation of this success story, which began in Nuremberg more than 80 years ago. Based on the “phytoneering” strategy, Bionorica decodes the extensive active ingredient potential of plants (phytos) using state-of-the-art research and technologies (engineering). The result: highly effective medicines with few side effects. Our research and development priorities involve the treatment of symptoms in the respiratory tract, urinary tract, immune system and also women's health. Our range also includes products for the liver, rheumatism and sleep disorders.


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