Research activities at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) are based on the work of the Nobel Prize winner Paul Ehrlich. As Head of the “Institute for Sera Research and Serum Testing“ in Berlin-Steglitz, Germany, in the late 19th century he addressed questions in the field of applied and basic sciences such as the determination of antiserum activity and the theory of antibody formation. In 1899, Paul Ehrlich moved his institute to Frankfurt/Main, Germany, where it was renamed the “Royal Institute for Experimental Therapy“. The present PEI is the direct successor of Paul Ehrlich’s institute in Frankfurt.
Pursuant to the “Act on the Establishment of a Federal Agency for Sera and Vaccines” of 7 July 1972, the PEI performs research related to its responsibility for vaccines and other biological medicinal products like blood and blood products, monoclonal antibodies, allergens, gene and cell therapy products.
The objectives of undertaking research at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut are:
• To contribute to ensuring and improving quality, efficacy, and safety of vaccines and biological medicinal products in Europe.
• To strengthen the PEI as a centre of excellence within the European regulatory network for medicinal products.
• To provide competent expert advice to health policy decision-makers on biomedicine-relevant issues.
• To ensure high-level knowledge and expertise of personnel and to intensify the national and international exchange of ideas and concepts.
• To create a climate of scientific excellence at the PEI and to promote the PEI as an attractive workplace.
Research activities at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut are generally funded by independent bodies and focus on the following major research areas: Safety and Quality of Biological and Biotechnology Medicines, Viral Gene Transfer and Cell Therapy, Host Interactions with Pathogens and Retroelements, Pathogen-induced Immune Activation and Evasion and Immunobiology of Allergens. Details of the projects are displayed on the Institute's website.
Where possible, PEI’s research projects aim at reducing and replacing animal experiments in the batch control and testing of pharmaceuticals.
On 7 July 2000, the Wissenschaftsrat, the science advisory body of the Federal Government and the regional governments of Germany, stated that research and regulatory activities at the PEI complement each other very well and that its research is of high quality.