In 1954, the German Research Institute for Psychiatry, which was part of the MPG, founded an Institute for Cell Chemistry in Munich. Feodor Lynen (1911–1979), professor of biochemistry at the Ludwig Maximilians University, became its director. Since there was hardly any scientific cooperation with other departments of the research institute, the MPG spun off the MPI for Cell Chemistry as an independent institute in 1956. In January 1959 the MPI for Cell Chemistry, together with the University Institute of Biochemistry, moved into a new building on Karlstraße.
For his research on the mechanism and regulation of the metabolism of cholesterol and fatty acids, Feodor Lynen received the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 1964 together with Konrad Bloch. His institute grew so rapidly that the new premises were soon too small again—a solution was needed. The MPI for Cell Chemistry also moved to Martinsried in 1973 and fused with the MPI of Biochemistry.