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Researchers and entrepreneurs in Montpellier boosting health in synergy

Information updated on 19/12/18

MELIES Business Angels and Crédit Agricole du Languedoc organized a round table on the topic “Innovation and entrepreneurship to boost health in the territory” on November 15, 2018, with 200 people attending.

MeetUp Santé MELIES Business Angels / Crédit Agricole du Languedoc

Health meet-up with MELIES Business Angels / Crédit Agricole du Languedoc

Crédit Agricole du Languedoc headquarters welcomed the first health meet-up, which it co-organized with Le Village by CA, its subsidiary Sofilaro, and the MELIES Business Angels network (MBA) on November 15, 2018.

Led by MBA president Dr. Gilles Roche, the round table dedicated to health innovation included Marcel Mechali (member of the Academy of Science and director of the EpiGenMed Labex), Professor Michel Mondain (dean of the Faculty of Medicine), Xavier Tabary (president of Eurobiomed and director of the Sanofi Montpellier site), Célia Belline (CEO of Cilcare), Thomas Le Ludec (general director of the Montpellier CHU - University Hospital), Dr. Max Ponseillé (CEO of the Oc Santé group), and Chantal Marion, vice president of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole.

These representatives of the business and research worlds and health establishments observed that the various stakeholders are working together to ensure that innovation benefits patients at all levels

Entrepreneurial spirit is essential for delivering innovation

Exchanges between participants highlighted the importance of associating research results with entrepreneurial spirit and the share of risk inherent to creating any business, so that innovative ideas can be delivered to the benefit of society. Participants also pointed out the advantages of Montpellier and the greater Montpellier area in that respect.

“Startups play a considerable role in transforming academic innovation into solutions for patients,” highlights Célia Belline, who also spoke about progress being made in the university mentality. Marcel Mechali notably mentioned the interest of MUSE (Montpellier University of Excellence) calls-for-projects to connect researchers with companies. Along the same lines, Thomas Le Ludec pointed out that the Montpellier CHU and its teams co-founded the startup MedXCell Science SAS, a first for a French hospital, in order to participate in developing tomorrow’s medical care. 

The new Grand Sud Health Cluster project also covers some very innovative issues. Xavier Tabary talked about services provided to young startups by Eurobiomed in terms of exposure, scientific credibility, and methodological assistance.

Progress is achieved through collaboration at all levels

For Chantal Marion, Montpellier Métropole benefits from a dense and high-performing innovation ecosystem. Also, the French Tech label earned in 2014 has brought new momentum to the region, uniting all innovation stakeholders and giving them the opportunity to meet on a regular basis. That is the role of the Montpellier Health Hub program in the health sector. The collective dynamic is both logical and necessary. It can be seen within the Faculty of Medicine itself, according to Professor Michel Mondain, who emphasized the importance of developing the acquisition of multidisciplinary and interprofessional skills to train people who can be employed by start-ups and companies.

Dr. Max Ponseillé also highlighted the crucial role of teamwork, which enabled him to create a hospital training association – CESEGH – 29 years ago, and to continue setting up new training courses (university and Master’s degrees). Marcel Mechali nevertheless regretted that it is still difficult to attract researchers towards applications for patients: while concrete initiatives exist within excellence laboratories such as EpiGenMed, much remains to be accomplished at the national level to create real interaction between researchers and entrepreneurs. This collaboration is nonetheless a vector for success: Célia Belline highlighted the alliance between an HEC graduate who wanted to start her own business and an IRCM researcher who made it possible to create the startup NovaGray in Montpellier.
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