Means for growth

Intermediation to help companies grow

Large corporate groups have come to recognize Genopole as a reliable intermediator for technology scouting, that is, the ever-growing need of these entities to find useful innovations developed in start-ups. In 2021, Genopole’s year-spanning intermediation efforts resulted in a green science co-incubation project under development at the biocluster with a large group.

Throughout the year, Genopole’s teams organized meetings between its accompanied businesses and actors in industry. For example, Genopole teamed with Choose Paris Region for an April webinar on the subject of future nutrition in Île-de-France, with the participation of Gourmey, Cearitis and WatchFrog. Another such event had been held in February as part of Bioket on the theme of new challenges and opportunities for the bioeconomy, with Ynsect, Altar and NextProtein present.

Connecting to major industrial groups

Partner4Biotech is Genopole’s flagship event for building business connections. At the entirely-digital 2021 event held 28–30 September, 40 Genopole-accompanied businesses were able to exchange with 25 major international corporations. More than 110 meetings were held between the heads of Genopole start-ups and industrials in the fields of health, cosmetics, nutrition and others. The event generated a number of opportunities for financing, industrialization, R&D, proof of concept and marketing partnerships.

A filmed roundtable held under the banner "Keys for a Successful Partnership" gave two Genopole companies (Altar and Innovhem) an opportunity to exchange with and receive advice from two major groups (Danone and Servier) on strategies for building corporate partnerships.

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Building relations with investors

Genopole is also a match-maker for investors. At year 2021’s Invest4Biotech event, held 6–7 May, Genopole’s start-ups were able to pitch to then meet with close to 30 investors. Throughout the year, Genopole remained focused not only on helping its companies obtain financing but also enlarging its network of investors, particularly at international forums such as BIO or RESI (Redefining Early Stage Investment).

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Intermediation to help companies grow

"Partner4Biotech gave us access to business developers, decision-makers from major groups and representatives from their investment funds. It was a great opportunity for us, a very interesting first handshake, especially with the industrials from the cosmetics field, which is currently turning to green chemistry for biosourced molecules."

Isabelle Malcuit, Scientific Director at Algentech
Gene.iO : the "tech-to-cash" transition accelerator

Gene.iO the "tech-to-cash" transition accelerator

A start-up goes through a delicate and critical moment in its development: that where despite a solid technological foundation, it has not yet passed the threshold of industrial and commercial deployment, a moment highly dependent on successfully raising funds. Therein is the raison d’être of Gene.iO: to give start-ups access to leading competencies in bio-innovation so that they can obtain initial financing or an initial commercial agreement, and thus pass this vital and decisive step in the acceleration of their business.

Gene.iO saw the day in 2021, as Genopole’s new acceleration program born of five years of experience with the bioclusters previous program, the Booster, which accompanied 33 start-ups between 2017 and 2021. Conceptualized on a foundation of feedback from Booster laureates, interviews with prospective contacts and discussions with other French incubators, Gene.iO is custom fitted to the precise needs of early-stage companies looking for initial funding.

An à la carte program

Gene.iO is both a collective and a personalized program. It comprises a common "Starter Kit" (€20,000 repayable advance, accompaniment by a dedicated mentor, access to the technological platforms, arrival assistance, and more) to which each start-up can add any of four specific training "Strategy Packs": Market Access, Key Accounts Partnerships, Fund Raising, and Communication Strategy.

Training is provided throughout the year-long program by external consultants carefully selected for their expertise in bio-innovation. The financial model of Gene.iO is radically different from that of the Booster in that the Strategy Packs must be purchased by the start-up.

Gene.iO’s first laureates

Announced in October, the first Gene.iO class counted nine start-ups.

  • Innovative therapies: Floating Genes, Optec4Life
  • The bioeconomy: Ever Dye, Nutropy, Phagos, SafeInsight,
  • Computational genomics: Ciclix, Deeptope

The laureates’ innovations target:

  • cleaner industrial processes,
  • improved treatments/diagnostics for human and animal diseases,
  • novel biomanufacturing methods for compounds of therapeutic, cosmetic, nutraceutic and nutritional interest.
Gene.iO the "tech-to-cash" transition accelerator

"From the 26 candidates, we selected nine start-ups for the pertinence of their innovations and the level of their advancement in coherence with the Gene.iO objective: accelerating the ‘Tech to Cash’ transition."

Sihem Ouasti, Gene.iO Program Manager

Genopole supports Echoliv and its AI software for liver cancer

Genopole sponsors the Health category of the Digital Start-Up Trophy (in French: Trophée Start-Up Numérique) event held yearly by IMT Starter, the incubator of Évry-Courcouronnes’ Grandes Écoles. The 2021 victor in that category was the medtech Echoliv, headed by Jules Bayet and Victor Neuillet. The start-up is developing an artificial intelligence aimed at helping radiologists and hepatologists detect hepatocellular carcinoma, the main cancer of the liver, in its early stages.

"The software improves the echographic identification of liver cancer. The gains in time and precision are both beneficial in terms of life expectancy for the patient. I’m very happy about supporting this project, which ties in with others under development here at Genopole."

Stéphanie Olas, Genopole Project Manager
Genopole supports Echoliv and its AI software for liver cancer

Three programs to stimulate research potential

Genopole finances three research support programs, all aimed at strengthening scientific competencies and facilitating novel research orientations in the academic laboratories, and R&D axes in the biocluster’s businesses.

ApogeeBio replaces the postdoctoral allocations

In 2021, Genopole replaced its Postdoctoral Repatriation Allocation Program by ApogeeBio, a new program retained by the European Commission in January (see page 33). The cofinancing from Europe and the support from Genopole’s scientific partners (Genethon; Évry and Paris-Saclay Universities; TSP and IMT-BS Grandes Écoles; CEA, Inserm and CNRS supervisory bodies) will allow the number of grants to be doubled and the program extended to international researchers. The first ApogeeBio call for candidates was launched in 2021 and its first grants will be attributed in 2022.

Five Master 2 scholarships to encourage vocations

Five students benefited from scholarships to fund six-month Master 2 internships in such labs as Lambe, IBISC, SABNP or Genoscope. Launched in 2019, the Master 2 scholarships encourage students to pursue research as a career and give labs and businesses an opportunity to explore new research projects.

Scholarships to enable study abroad for PhD students

From its seventh call for candidates, Genopole retained three PhD students for short international training scholarships. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the students pursued their learning online, receiving training in bioinformatics methodologies for the analysis of multiomics data, new technologies for genomics analyses, and software programs for the structural analysis of enzymes, competencies shared thereafter with their teams.