Fondazione Istituto Insubrico per La Vita

Development of biotechnology research related to life sciences and human health. Isolation and characterization of novel biomolecules.

FIIRV possesses a chemical library made of 10,000 molecules obtained by chemical synthesis, a collection of 166.000 extracts generated from 90,000 microorganisms belonging to actinomycetes, fungi, mixobacteria and eubacteria.

Area of Research

  • FIIRV is a nonprofit foundation promoting and developing natural products discovery research projects, including valuable compounds/enzymes in the area of biosystems and biomaterials. Asset collections include 18,800 microbial strains, 39,000 microbial extracts, 9,500 pure chemical compounds and 5,000 microbial DNA extracts. Discovery workflow starts from microorganism isolation/cultivation laboratories and screening laboratory equipped for HTS for hit identification, followed by refermentation-downstream processing from flask level to a pilot plant. Chemical analyses for structural characterization of molecules, cell biology assays and animal house for toxicity tests complete the hit-to-lead process.  

Expertise and Main Technologies

    • Isolation and identification of soil microbial strains
    • Small and large scale fermentation of bacterial and fungal strains: orbital shakers, pilot plant with 2 x 5L, 2 x 15L and 2 x 200L fermenters; downstream process equipment: centrifuges, filtration/concentration devices, lyophilizers.
    • High-throughput screening of microbial cultures: automated liquid handling/readers
    • Extraction, purification, structural characterization of hit molecules (HPLC/MS/MS)
    • Preclinical studies (in vitro/in vivo) for hit-to-lead development

Key Organisms


Filamentous Fungi

Industrial Applications

  • FIIRV is very active in supporting the tech transfer from basic to applied research. Lead natural compounds identified and characterized by FIIRV can be highly attractive for companies and entities interested in product development in the field of antibacterial or enzymatic activity. Recent patent applications by FIIRV and several ongoing collaboration programs with international companies and institutes demonstrate the high potential for an industrial development progress aimed at final product and marketing achievement. 

Industrial Sector


Human Well-Being & Care

Biological & Medical

Scientific References


principal investigator


senior scientist

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