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Tübingen-based start-up specialises in genomic analysis of seeds
"We make the invisible visible"

(Stuttgart/Tübingen) - Computomics GmbH & Co. KG is a young spin-off of the
University of Tübingen. Managing Directors and co-founders Dr. Sebastian
Schultheiss and Dr. Tobias Dezulian analyse the genomes of seeds on behalf
of seed manufacturers with a view to, for example, gathering information
about resistance to drought or pests. With their team, they have developed
tools that enable them to effectively evaluate raw data from DNA screenings.

Company founders Dr. Sebastian Schultheiss and Dr. Tobias Dezulian may well
know most of their potential customers personally. After all, less than 20
seed manufacturers worldwide work in the field of genomic crop research. The
two start-up entrepreneurs are therefore part of a small industry in which
they have built up a network of contacts over many years. 'Because we have
been working in this area of science for many years, we are well known in
the community', explains Dr. Schultheiss (31). Like Dr. Dezulian, he studied
at the University of Tübingen, where he gained a doctorate in
bioinformatics, and then worked at the Max Planck Institute for
Developmental Biology. He is an expert in next-generation sequencing (NGS)
and next-generation DNA sequencing technology.
DNA sequencing is the decoding of DNA. However, to grasp how genes function
and interact, you not only need to be able to 'read' the individual DNA
sequences, you also have to understand the entire 'language'. With this in
mind, the founders of Computomics have developed new methods and tools to
precisely analyse and interpret the data from text sequences.
Dr. Schultheiss and Dr. Dezulian specialise in the genetic analysis of seeds
such as grain, rice and maize and can provide targeted information on
certain properties and abilities of genomes. 'Whereas many generations of
seeds and years of observation were required in the past, our customers now
need only a few months with our help'. Thanks to Computomics, customers can
quickly discover whether an attempt to cross certain properties of a wild
crop variety with an established variety in a conventional manner has
succeeded. 'We make the invisible properties of the seed visible', explains
Dr. Dezulian. Cross-cultivation can be used, for example, to develop a
variety of crop which is particularly resistant to drought or certain pests.
Retaining 'natural biodiversity is important to our customers, as it
provides a wealth of beneficial properties. Gene manipulation is therefore
not an issue for us at the moment. We only receive requests and orders
relating to conventional seed cultivation and varieties'.
Sequencing machines usually produce several terabytes of data for these
analyses. Knowing how important data security is to its customers,
Computomics works only with company-internal server systems: 'We mostly
handle proprietary information about seed cultivation on behalf of seed
manufacturers. That's why we only use our own servers as well as effective
encryption technology.'
The success of the venture vindicates the spin-off from the University of
Tübingen. Enquiries have already been received from customers around the
world. After the United States, Germany is the most important location for
seed manufacturers. This is why the company is based in Germany, although it
is already considering opening a branch in the United States. 'We feel very
much at home here and receive competent support - for example, from BioRegio
STERN and bwcon,' explains Dr. Schultheiss. 'The know-how we need is
available on our doorstep at institutes and the university. We can therefore
find the right staff without too much effort on our part. This is important
since we are constantly looking for highly qualified personnel for our
complex tasks'. Computomics GmbH & Co. KG - currently still based on the
university premises - plans to move to a larger building in 2013. The
company initially plans to create ten new jobs on the new premises - after
all, healthy growth is the cornerstone of Computomics' business.
[approx. 4,406 characters]

About Computomics
Computomics GmbH & Co. KG was co-founded by its two Managing Directors Dr.
Sebastian Schultheiss and Dr. Tobias Dezulian. The other co-founders are
members of the company's Scientific Committee: Prof. Detlef Weigel, director
and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology,
Prof. Daniel Huson, Prof. Gunnar Rätsch and Prof. Karsten Borgwardt.
Together with four members of staff, the team specialises in the genetic
analysis of seeds.

About BioRegio STERN:
For ten years, BioRegio STERN Management GmbH has been a skill-sharing
network in the cities of Stuttgart, Tübingen, Esslingen, and Reutlingen and
the Neckar-Alb and Stuttgart regions in the Baden-Württemberg area of
Germany, providing a source of help and advice for founders of new
businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers from the biotechnology sector.
BioRegio STERN Management GmbH represents their interests in dealings with
politicians, the media and associations. It offers business promotion and
marketing services and provides advice on grant applications and corporate
financing. Regenerative medicine, medical technology and the automation of
biotechnology are key focal points. The Managing Director, Dr. Klaus
Eichenberg, is a molecular and cell biologist and investment analyst.

Publisher: BioRegio STERN Management GmbH,
Friedrichstrasse 10, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany, +49-711-8703540,
Editor: Zeeb Kommunikation GmbH,
Hohenheimer Strasse 58a, 70184 Stuttgart, Germany, +49-711-6070719,
Computomics GmbH & Co. KG, Sand 14, 72076 Tübingen, +49-7071-5683995,

Publisher Contact Information:


Company profile of BioRegio STERN Management
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