Innovation in Life Sciences at the 2013 French American Innovation Day

The 11th annual French American Innovation Days was held on December 5th and 6th at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The event focused on Innovation in life sciences as a driver for economic growth from both American and French perspectives. LaBiotech writer and MedTech Boston contributor Philipe Hemme attended the second day of the conference, which was dedicated to entrepreneurship in life sciences. Five American and five French early-stage companies presented for 15 minutes each, followed by a closing talk by the French ambassador to the United States, François Delattre. The innovation presentations were moderated by serial entrepreneur Bernard Malfroy.

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Jean-Jacques Garaud is the first to present his company, Inotrem. The company was created in February 2013 by Garaud, a half-French half-American entrepreneur, who was previously the head of research at Roche in Basel. Inotrem’s technology is based on a peptide, MOTREM, which fights sepsis through the receptor Trem1. They will start Phase 2 soon and raised €22 million from venture capital firms, including Inserm Transfert Initiative.

Next, moderator Bernard Malfroy presents his own company, ViThera Pharmaceuticals. ViThera is developing microbiome-based therapeutics that transform bacteria into an active drug delivery system to fight chronic inflammation of the colon, for example Crohn’s disease.

HiFiBiO, co-founded by Colin Brenan and French scientists, focuse on antibody discovery with the help of microfluidics and want to compete with the classic hybridoma technology. Brandon Doan, another American entrepreneur, presents the the company he co-founded – Hemova Medical. Hemova wants to revolutionize dialysis by replacing catheters with an innovative device. This device is able to offer easy access to veins without the damage caused by catheters. Laurent Nguyen made the final presentation of the first group for Sensorion Pharmaceuticals, which develops small molecules to fight inner ear disorders. He raised €4 million to develop this first of a kind non-invasive approach.

During the break between sessions, Michael Pratt spoke about the Technology Development Office at Boston University. The focus of his talk was on strategy for increasing the efficacy of collaboration between institution and talent.

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The presentations directly following the break were first, the Hello Tomorrow challenge for young European innovators, followed by Eyevensys, WaveGuide, Aavilife and Intrata.

Cécile Tharaud, president of Inserm Transfert (one of the largest French technology transfer offices) closed day 2-day event with a summary hi-lighting the complexity of open innovation across borders. She also emphasized the importance trust and passion in collaboration along with the opportunity to capitalize on opportunities available in both countries – for example, the non-dilutive capital that can be more easily found in France. Francois Delattre, ambassador of France in the United States, took the final word by speaking about France’s recent €3.7 billion reindustrialization program, which began in December this year, along with the establishment of 71 innovation clusters through investment in innovation and technology. Innovation and entrepreneurship are hot topics in France – after all, entrepreneur is a French word.

This summary was written in collaboration with Philip Hemme, Co-founder of the biotechnology news website LaBiotech.fr

Shannon Moore

Shannon Moore

    Shannon is an Associate Consultant at DRG Consulting, where she helps clients in the life sciences approach strategic problems. As a new-comer to Boston, she's very excited about all of the medical innovation happening in her neighborhood, and loves learning about the people and resources that make it so vibrant. Shannon also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering where she studied the biomechanics of bone regeneration. She can be reached at shannon@medtechboston.com.

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