Main Prize / Prize Winners 

Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize – awarded since 1952

This prize is Germany's most renowned medical award and is endowed with € 120,000. It is traditionally awarded on March 14, Paul Ehrlich's birthday, in Frankfurt's Paulskirche, a renowned symbol of Germany's democracy.

The prize honours scientists who have made special contributions in areas of research represented by Paul Ehrlich's achievements, namely in immunology, cancer research, haematology, microbiology and chemotherapy.

Awarded since 1952, the prize is funded by the Federal Ministry of Health, the German Association of Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies (Verband Forschender Arzneimittelhersteller e.V.) and by earmarked donations from the following companies, foundations and institutions: Else Kröner-Fresenius-Foundation, Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH, C.H. Boehringer Sohn AG & Co. KG, Biotest AG, Hans und Wolfgang Schleussner-Foundation, Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA, F. Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd., Grünenthal Group, Janssen-Cilag GmbH, Merck KGaA, Bayer AG, Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH & Co.KG, GlaxoSmithKline GmbH & Co. KG, B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co KGaA.

The award winners are selected by the Scientific Council of the Paul Ehrlich Foundation. 

To date, 128 scientists have received the prize. Of these, 26 prize winners are also Nobel Prize laureates (list of Nobel Prize Winners) (status as of 2023).

History of the prize
The prize has two roots in the German Weimar Republic. The Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize was established in 1926 by the board of the Georg-Speyer-Haus Foundation on the occasion of the 80th birthday of its namesake. From then on, it was awarded every three years for outstanding work in the fields of chemotherapy and biology, even through the years of Nazi dictatorship. However, from 1935 this was without public announcement and only communicated to employees of the Paul Ehrlich Institutes based in Frankfurt. The Paul Ehrlich Prize, donated by Ehrlich's widow Hedwig in 1929, could only be awarded from 1930 to 1934. It then fell victim to German anti-Semitism.
After the war, it was decided in April 1952 to merge the Paul Ehrlich Prize and the Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize.


Frederick W. Alt and David G. Schatz

Decryption of the diversification of antigen receptors


Katalin Karikó, Özlem Türeci and Uğur Şahin

Achievements in the development of messenger RNA (mRNA)


Michael R. Silverman and Bonnie L. Bassler

Discoveries in the field of interbacterial communication


Arthur L. Horwich and Franz Ulrich Hartl

Elucidation of protein folding in vivo


Patrick Moore and 
Yuan Chang

Discoveries in the field of tumor viruses


Jennifer Doudna and 
Emmanuelle Charpentier

Development of a method for genome editing


Carl H. June and 
James P. Allison 

Development of cancer immune therapies


Craig C. Mello and Andrew Z. Fire 

Discovery of RNA interference


Peter G. Schultz and Richard A. Lerner

Development of catalytic antibodies


Stephen C. Harrison and Michael G. Rossmann

X-ray structural analysis of the protein envelope of viruses


John F. R. Kerr and H. Robert Horvitz

Discovery of programmed cell death (apoptosis)


David Lane, Arnold Levine and Bert Vogelstein

Discovery of the tumor suppressor gene p53


Barry J. Marshall and John Robin Warren

Discovery of the bacterium helicobacter pyloriHelicobacter pylori

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2005


Pamela J. Bjorkman, Hans-Georg Rammensee and Jack L. Strominger

Research into the "immune system's presentation plate" (MHC)


Peter Howley und Harald zur Hausen

Research on papillomaviruses and their oncogenic potential

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008


Philippa Marrack, John W. Kappler und Harald von Boehmer

Research on the development and function of T cells


Manfred Eigen

Groundbreaking work on biological evolution

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1967


Rino Rappuoli und Michio Ui

Research and development of a pertussis vaccine


R. John Collier und A.M. Pappenheimer Jr.

Research on bacterial toxins, in particular diphtheria and anthrax


Stuart A. AaronsonRussell F. Doolittle und Thomas Graf

Discoveries in the field of oncogenes and growth factors


Peter K. Vogt

Fundamental work in the field of retroviruses and oncogenes


Jean F. Borel, Hugh O. McDevitt und Felix Milgrom

Outstanding research on autoimmunity


Abner L. Notkins

Research into autoimmune diseases, in particular type 1 diabetes


Ernest Bueding, Louis H. Miller und Ruth Sonntag Nussenzweig

Studies on malaria and schistosomiasis


Piet Borst und George A.M. Cros

Studies on the pathogen of sleeping sickness


Michael Potter, Peter C. Doherty und Rolf M. Zinkernagel

Elucidation of the specificity of the cellular immune response

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1996


Niels Jerne

Groundbreaking theories on the functioning of the immune system

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1984


Stanley Falkow, Susumu Mitsuhashi

Research on bacterial resistance


Tomoichiro Akiba und Hamao Umezawa

Outstanding achievements in the field of clinical bacteriology


Arnold Graffi, Otto Mühlbock und Wallace P. Rowe

Contributions to research on tumor viruses


Ludwik Gross und Werner Schäfer

Significant discoveries in the field of tumor virology


Torbjörn Caspersson und John Bertrand Gurdon

Excellent achievements in the field of cell biology

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012


Georges Barski und Boris Ephrussi

Pioneering work in the fields of embryology and genetics


George B. Mackaness, Nicholas Avrion Mitchison und Morten Simonsen

Contributions to microbiology and immunology


James L. Gowans und Jacques Miller

Discoveries about the role of lymphocytes in the immune response


Anthony Epstein, Kimishige Ishizaka und Dennis H. Wright

Contributions to tumor virology and immunology


Denis P. Burkitt und Jan Waldenström

First description of certain tumors of lymphatic tissue


Albert Claude, Keith R. Porter und Fritiof Sjöstrand

Cell biological discoveries empowered by electron microscopy


Ernst Ruska und Helmut Ruska

Invention of electron microscopy

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1986


Hiroshi Nikaido, Anne-Marie Staub und Winifred M. Watkins

Contributions to bacteriology, immunology, and serology


Walter T. J. Morgan und Otto Westphal

Fundamental work in the field of immunochemistry and tumor biology


Francis Peyton Rous

Pioneering work in the field of tumor virology

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1966


(Prize for Young Researchers )

Otto LüderitzLéon Le MinorIda ØrskovFrits Ørskov und Bruce A. D. Stocker

Work in the field of microbiology


Fritz Kauffmann

Outstanding achievements in the field of medical microbiology


(Prize for Young Researchers )

Helmut Holzer, Lothar Jaenicke, Detlev Kayser und Tullio Terranova

Work on enzymology and on the biochemistry of cancer cells


Otto Warburg

Fundamental insights into cell metabolism

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1931


(Prize for Young Researchers )

Albert H. Coons, Günther Heymann, Örjan E. Ouchterlony und Jacques Oudin

Work in the field of immunodiagnostics


Felix Haurowitz

Significant work on proteins and antibodies


Richard Kuhn

Outstanding work in the field of vitamins and enzymes

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1938


Adolf Butenandt

Structural elucidation of sex hormones

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1939


Gerhard Eißner und Wolf-H. Wagner

Development of vaccines and drugs


Adolf Butenandt

Structural elucidation of sex hormones

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1939


Gerhard Eißner und Wolf-H. Wagner

Development of vaccines and drugs



Office Paul Ehrlich Foundation:

Friends of the Goethe University Frankfurt
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Campus Westend, PA-Gebäude
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1 
60629 Frankfurt am Main

Managing Directors
Nike von Wersebe
Tel: 069 / 798 12234
Fax: 069 / 798 763 12234

Julia Lange
Tel: 069 / 798 12452
Fax: 069 / 798 763 12452

Adviser for Members & Foundations
Tina Faber
Tel: 069 / 798 17237
Fax: 069 / 798 763 17237

Constanze von Plato
Tel: 069 / 798 17237
Fax: 069 / 798 763 17237

Science Communication
Joachim Pietzsch
Tel: 069 36007188

Bank Account
Paul Ehrlich-Stiftung
Deutsche Bank AG
IBAN: DE38500700100700083900

Donations are tax deductible.