German Biobank Node

Under the umbrella of the German Biobank Node (GBN), 11 biobanks and two IT development centers are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to work together in the German Biobank Alliance (GBA). Their common aim is to make existing biomaterials hosted by different biobanks nationally and internationally available for biomedical research. This position article reflects and summarizes contributions and comments made during a GBA workshop, on the cooperation between academic biobanks and pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies that took place in Leipzig on the 21st of June 2018. It documents key points agreed on by all participating biobanks during the workshop thereby addressing several of the challenges identified. Although there are various possibilities for cooperation between academic biobanks and industry, this position article focuses exclusively on projects where academic biobanks give access to their biosamples and related data to industry partners. In doing so it considers the general conditions/framework and procedures in the German biobanking environment and raises ethical, legal, and procedural issues to be addressed when initiating such collaborations. It intends to furnish a basis for further activities to foster cooperation with industry and to push an overarching national coordination process. The final aim is to develop GBN-recommendations. Of course, many hospitals already have clear regulations on collaboration(s) with industry partners. These naturally take precedence for the GBA biobanks. However, where interest exists, GBN/GBA recommendations could help to induce changes to existing local policies nonetheless.

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