Growing demand for natural active ingredients enables Phytovalley Tyrol to flourish
An increasing number of research centres are locating in Phytovalley
This is not without good reason. This is because an increasing number of people are demanding plant-based drugs in the spirit of protecting nature and the environment. The pharmaceutical industry is reacting strongly to this. According, the demand for new, effective plant-based active ingredients is very high. There are more than 400,000 types of plants across the globe. However, chemical and pharmacological research has only been carried out on five to ten percent of all plants with respect to their active substances. "Phyto" means plant. In light of the fact that everyone was talking about Silicon Valley, and that we are actually located in a valley in contrast to the real one, I thought that Phytovalley would be a very suitable term for our research site in Tyrol. In the meantime, "Phytovalley" is a legally protected trademark. An increasing number of research centres and companies are settling in Phytovalley. As a result, new know-how could be located here, helping to further develop the existing potential.
Herbal medicinal products for new therapeutic approaches to widespread diseases
Bundling and expanding upon the competence and knowledge in plant research is precisely the objective being pursed in Phytovalley. For example, the newly opened Michael Popp Research Institute at the University of Innsbruck is working on research into herbal medicinal products for new therapeutic approaches to widespread diseases such as chronic inflammation, metabolic disorders such as diabetes or even as a means of combatting cancer. All in all, a total of 20 new researchers were hired. "The close networking and cooperation of business and science comprise the key to the successful further development of our business location and the creation of highly-qualified jobs in our region", states Günther Platter, Governor of the Federal Province of Tyrol, who is convinced of the advantages of the nature and plant research cluster in Tyrol. For this reason, the Federal Province of Tyrol is supporting the Michael Popp Research Institute by funding a further professorship to the amount of EUR 1.5 million. When expanding the research location, it is very important to ensure that the entire value chain, from basic and applied research to product development, remains in the region. For this purpose, new cultivable areas for test plants in the vicinity of Innsbruck are planned.
In addition to the Michael Popp Research Institute, which first opened at the beginning of 2020, the Institute for Analytical Chemistry and Radio Chemistry and the Institute for Pharmacy at the University of Innsbruck are also conducting research into plant-based active ingredients. The Austrian Drug Screening Institute (ADSI), the companies Bionorica Research, Tirol Kliniken and MCI and other partners complement the Phytovalley Cluster.
Prof. Günther Bonn is Head of the Institute for Analytical Chemistry and Radio Chemistry at the University of Innsbruck as well as the Managing Director and Scientific Director of the Austrian Drug Screening Institute (ADSI).