TUM Alumni Robert Macsics working at his laminar flow cabinet in TUM's S2-Lab.

TUM Alumni Dr. Robert Macsics enjoys coming to his lab at TUM every day. Here he is conducting research on an innovative antibiotic to combat multiresistant bacteria. To make this ambitious project even more promising, he established a Biotech start-up together with his doctoral adviser (picture: Ingo Knopf / Klaus Tschira Stiftung).

Alumni doing research
Entrepreneur Robert Macsics
“Entrepreneurship Is Right up My Alley”
22. Nov 2021
Reading time Min.
If someone had told him that he would one day launch a company, TUM Alumni Robert Macsics would have declared them crazy. Today, the consummate scientist is heading a Biotech start-up that develops next-generation antibiotics.
Already as a schoolboy, Dr. Robert Macsics was enthusiastic about Chemistry. He regularly took part in the youth science competition “Jugend forscht” in the field of Chemistry. As part of an “Early Study – Secondary School Pupils at University” project at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, he got a taste of studying Chemistry. For his Bachelor in Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Coburg native went to Munich to Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Subsequently, he earned a Master in Pharmacology at the renowned University of Oxford. It was there that he first came into contact with research into antibiotics. Immediately, this socially relevant topic captivated him.


Searching for a suitable doctorate in this field, Robert Macsics became aware of TUM Professor Dr. Stephan A. Sieber. As the Chair of Organic Chemistry II, he is pursuing a very innovative research approach aimed at developing new drugs to combat multiresistant bacteria. From the very beginning, Robert Macsics was extremely keen.

I would choose a doctorate at TUM again any day.

Dr. Robert Macsics

In 2016, he started his doctorate at TUM. In 2020, he more than successfully completed it – in fact, by developing an active ingredient that could become the ultimate antibiotic. As a post-doc, he has since been working on the preclinical development of this antibiotic to fight multiresistant bacteria in the TUM project aBACTER. “I love coming to the lab every day,” says Robert Macsics. “The group cohesion and spirit in Professor Sieber’s research group is just incredible. I would choose to do a doctorate at TUM again any day.”


Bacteria resistant to antibiotics are a major problem all over the world. The dreaded hospital-acquired infections involve what is known as multiresistance. Virtually all available antibiotics can no longer put a stop to these multiresistant pathogens. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying every year as a result of infections with these pathogens. So the search is on for new antibiotics that are different from all those already available. In the course of their research at TUM, Robert Macsics and his colleagues seem to have found one.


In order to turn the promising active ingredient into a marketable antibiotic, Robert Macsics established the start-up smartbax in 2021 together with Professor Sieber and experienced entrepreneur Marco Janezic. Initially, Robert Macsics had aimed for a secure job in a large company after finishing his doctorate. Now he is an entrepreneur himself and no longer deals with just scientific issues, but also with economic, legal, strategic and all kinds of bureaucratic hurdles. “The more I immerse myself in the world of bioentrepreneurship, the more I realize that this is right up my alley,” he says. “I love the challenges and the diversity of what I do.”

Without planning it, Robert Macsics is now doing exactly what he always wanted to do. “I take joy in my work, have fun with my colleagues, and feel like I’m doing something meaningful,” he says. “As a scientist at TUM and as an entrepreneur at the same time, I am certainly covering all these essential drivers of my life.”

TUM Alumni Robert Macsics.

Robert Macsics (picture: Peter Badge).

Dr. Robert Macsics

Doctorate Chemistry 2020


From 2012 to 2015, Robert Macsics completed a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. He completed a master’s degree in Pharmacology at the University of Oxford in the UK in 2016. He then returned to Munich for his doctorate. With a fellowship from the Boehringer Ingelheim Fund, he pursued his doctorate at the Chair of Organic Chemistry II at TUM from 2016 to 2020. In the publicly funded TUM project aBACTER and with his own Biotech start-up, Robert Macsics is doing everything he can to develop a new antibiotic against multiresistant bacteria. In 2021, he received the Klaus Tschira Foundation’s KlarText Prize for Science Communication for the fact that he is able to present his complex research in an accessible way, even to laypersons.

Whenever time permits, Robert Macsics is meeting up with his friends. Activities such as hiking, biking and traveling may also coax the passionate scientist out of his lab.