An example of an innovative product placed on the market thanks to a collaborative innovation project financed by the Single Inter-ministerial Fund (FUI), following its organisation and approval by the cluster
Few health innovation projects result in a market launch of innovative therapies because of their extremely expensive, lengthy and precarious development.
Western France is at the forefront of biotherapeutic innovation, on growth markets (immunotherapy, regenerative medicine, radiopharmaceuticals), for the treatment of diseases with a significant societal impact such as cancer, as well as cardiovascular, autoimmune, inflammatory and osteoarticular diseases.
The reasons for the cluster’s region’s outstanding potential for innovation are both the extensive and favourable innovation ecosystem as well as significant and sustained support from public bodies, in particular with the funding of public-private type collaborative research projects, and ultimately the quality of the cluster’s range of services in terms of setting up projects for its members.
One example providing concrete results is the PREMIUM ADCC project, supported, among others, by Clean Cells, a company that is a member of the cluster.
Few health innovation projects result in a market launch of innovative therapies, in particular biotherapies, because of their extremely expensive, lengthy and precarious development. Western France is at the forefront of biotherapeutic innovation, on growth markets (immunotherapy, regenerative ,medicine, radiopharmaceuticals), for the treatment of diseases with a significant societal impact such as cancer, as well as cardiovascular, autoimmune, inflammatory and osteoarticular diseases.
The reasons for Western France’s outstanding potential for innovation are both the extensive and favourable innovation ecosystem, based around the Atlanpole Biotherapies competitiveness cluster, as well as significant and sustained support from public bodies, in particular with the funding of public-private type collaborative research projects, and ultimately the quality of the cluster’s range of services in terms of setting up projects for its members.
Since its creation in 2005, the Atlanpole Biotherapies cluster has approved more than 75 collaborative innovation projects with a total value of € 700M.
This ability to act as a “project factory” and a “product factory” has facilitated:
- the development of high added value, innovative products and services for the market,
- the generation of benefits for companies and their academic partners within the ecosystem,
- the creation and/or retention of jobs and businesses within the cluster’s region,
- the generation of keen interest from key players within the pharmaceutical industry,
- the increased European and international visibility of the region.
An in-depth look at one of these projects
funded within the framework of the “Single Inter-ministerial Fund (FUI)” call for projects
- Lead Partner: Clean Cells (Boufféré-85)
- Partners: LFB Biotechnologies (Les Ulis-91), Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie Nantes-Angers (UMR 892 INSERM) and the GICC (UMR6239 CNRS/University of Tours)
- Budget/duration: 2.4 million euros/36 months
- Funded by: the Pays de la Loire region and the government
The aim of this project was to develop a standardised method for measuring the cytotoxic activity of therapeutic antibodies, one of the mechanisms of action of these new biotherapy treatments. The first stages consisted of developing a cellular model that could be magnified, monitored, approved and marketed to clients, who could use these cells in their own tests.
The project’s partners developed standardised “killer” cells (lymphocytes obtained from blood), enabling comparable and reproducible results to be obtained. The following stage consisted of developing model cancer cells to which luminescent products, which enable the cytotoxic activity of therapeutic antibodies to be detected, are added. This bioluminescence technique was developed as a replacement for the radioactive method, which is normally used, but is too restrictive and destined to be discontinued. In a system supplemented with killer cells, the technique developed enables the number of cancer cells destroyed to be measured and, thereby, the ability of the antibody to eliminate these cells to be assessed. This technique forms the subject of a patent held by the Clean Cells.
Today, Clean Cells produces and sells large quantities of effector (or killer) cells to the American subsidiary of a European company. Clean Cells is also able to offer a comprehensive service: in this case, it receives the client’s antibody and takes measurements in order to ascertain their ability to destroy cancer cells.
“So, the implications are extremely positive for the company, in terms of turnover. They are also very positive for the INSERM in terms of royalties, for the University of Tours in terms of scientific publications, as well as for LFB, which is now able to analyse some of its products.” explains Olivier Boisteau, President of Clean Cells
These new techniques are of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry, in particular for oncology and certain autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. They allow the most effective therapeutic antibodies to be selected in order to develop a drug. In addition, this standard method could prove useful for regulatory bodies when updating regulations.
This project gave rise to a second project: HYBRIDADCC, also funded by the Single Inter-ministerial Fund (FUI). The aim is to develop a similar method using mouse antibodies, which the pharmaceutical industry and research laboratories have large quantities of, and which could be used to develop new drugs for human use.
One of the partners in this new project is OSE Immunotherapeutics, another company that is a member of the cluster.
CleanCells employs 83 people and posted a turnover of 9 million euros in 2018, it is planning to open a new building in 2020 to support the company’s growth.
“I assisted with the entire organisation of the PremiumADCC and HybridADCC projects: confirming the feasibility of project ideas, identifying a suitable source of funding (the Single Inter-ministerial Fund (FUI)), helping establish the consortium, producing the technical specification, compiling the budget, completing administrative and financial forms on line on the funder’s Extranet and submitting the project for the funding application.
Once the project was funded, I attended quarterly steering committee meetings, specifically in order to monitor the readiness of deliverables offering an economic benefit,” explains Benoît-Jules Youbicier-Simo, the man in charge of setting up the Atlanpole Biotherapies cluster’s collaborative innovation projects.
 GICC = Innovation and Cell Targeting Group
 CNRS = The French National Centre for Scientific Research
 INSERM = French National Institute for Health and Medical Research