As France's leading biocluster, Genopole is an incubator for cutting-edge projects in biotechnology. Located in the city of Évry, just south of Paris, Genopole provides a unique environment for scientists and entrepreneurs seeking to advance research and innovation.

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Success stories

A lab, a start-up and the Genopole offer: a story of a winning combination

Genopole brings together all that is needed for success in biotechnologies. An unprecedented approach to drug discovery developed by the academic laboratory SABNP and the start-up Synsight illustrates well this fusion of capacities.
Guillaume Bollot - Synsight et David Pastré - Sabnp - Une combinaison gagnante au sein de l'écosystème Genopole pour aboutir à nouvelle approche de découverte de nouveaux médicaments. Guillaume Bollot - Synsight et David Pastré - Sabnp - Une combinaison gagnante au sein de l'écosystème Genopole pour aboutir à nouvelle approche de découverte de nouveaux médicaments.

In this success story, the SABNP researchers invented a novel biological method, the Synsight entrepreneurs contributed their expertise in molecular modeling and Genopole & its ecosystem provided support at every step along the way.

In 2023, the laboratory SABNP and the start-up Synsight published an article in eLife on an integrated scientific approach for the discovery of novel therapeutic targets. That accomplishment was the result of several years of scientific research and technological development. It illustrates the benefits of public-private partnerships and the ability of Genopole to support the emergence of innovations for major societal issues such as health.

The biocluster, located in the city of Évry, just south of Paris, offers a number of advantages to its academic laboratories and biotech businesses:

  • an ecosystem, uniting a cutting-edge scientific environment and office & lab accommodations, with close ties to territorial actors, including notably the University of Évry-Paris Saclay, other higher-learning institutes and the South Île-de-France medical center;
  • research funding programs for a wide range of fields (human and environmental genomics, biotherapies, structural biology, bioinformatics, biomathematics, innovation management and more);;
  • accompaniment programs for creating and developing biotech companies;
  • shared-use technological platforms for access to state of the art research equipment;
  • assistance for the acquisition of specific equipment.

A winning combination

Découvrez les étapes de cette success story en cliquant ci-dessous⬇️

Une combinaison gagnante au sein de l'écosystème Genopole pour aboutir à nouvelle approche de découverte de nouveaux médicaments.

The academic laboratory SABNP (Structure and Activity of Normal and Pathological Biomolecules) was founded in 2006 thanks to Genopole’s Atige program, which provided three years of financing for the creation of this new research team at the Évry campus. Under Inserm and University of Évry-Paris Saclay supervision, the team is now headed by David Pastré. To forward its research, the lab benefits from an allocation program to fund a postdoctoral researcher, four grants to fund master 2 internships and five International Mobility Grants to enable training for PhD students.

SABNP’s ability to find the complementary skillset of the start-up Synsight was greatly eased by the Évry research and innovation ecosystem within which they both evolve. Founded in 2013, accommodated within the University of Évry and benefiting from Genopole accompaniment, Synsight is an expert in artificial intelligence and molecular modeling for the discovery and design of new pharmaceuticals. In 2020, Synsight acquired an exclusive commercial use license for the MicroTubule bench technology.

This novel technology, invented by SABNP and patented by Inserm Transfert, enables the study of a key phenomenon in life, i.e., intermolecular interactions and particularly protein-RNA interactions within cells. MicroTubule bench was developed using the Structural Biology Platform and thus benefited from the financial support given to that technological infrastructure. The Genopole-accredited Structural Biology Platform is one of the biocluster’s shared-use technological platforms. It is managed by SABNP, benefiting thus from that team’s expertise.

Regular equipment-acquisition assistance has kept the platform at a technological level that earned it national recognition in 2019, when it was integrated within FRISBI, the French Infrastructure for Integrated Structural Biology.

In 2021, Genopole and the University of Évry funded the acquisition of a high-resolution imaging technology that lifted the platform to a technological level rarely attained in Europe. From a research perspective, the imaging technology provides high-precision images of normal or pathological cellular structures and mechanisms. From an industrial perspective, by producing tens of thousands of images in a matter of hours, it enables the large-scale use of MicroTubule bench. Additional assistance from Genopole to enable robotics and from the university to bring in a research engineer will further advance scale and expertise.

A successful synergy

The union of these favorable factors, competencies, technologies, equipment, and financial & human resources, led to the 2023 publication of a new approach for the discovery of therapies targeting protein-RNA interactions. The approach involves digital modeling, biochemical & structural analyses and cellular testing. Considering that most of the current entities involved in RNA screening are North American, this work furthermore contributes to French sovereignty for the discovery of promising therapeutic targets.

CitationDavid Pastré, Director of SABNP:
Our work involves not only basic but also applied research, which allows us to file patents such as that for the MicroTubule bench technology. Thanks to Genopole, we were able to acquire equipment for industrialization and take notice of companies like Synsight. All the planets aligned so that we could keep going forward. As for MicroTubule bench, for the moment, I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

CitationCyril Beauvais and Guillaume Bollot, Founders of Synsight: “Synsight is not yet product oriented (like other biotechs using existing technological platforms), but we are opening a new door to great potential. Medicines targeting RNA could, in theory, multiply therapeutic targets 100-fold and bring treatments to diseases currently having none, like certain cancers or neurodegenerative disorders. With MicroTubule bench we can take on the challenge of targeting RNA. The synergy of basic research by the laboratory and applied research by Synsight around the high-content screening platform creates an ideal framework for the development of the technology and its use for the discovery of these new treatments.

CitationRoxane Brachet, Academic Partnerships Manager at Genopole: “To durably accompany the research activities of its labs and businesses, Genopole provides a complete offer of support programs, whether for training (e.g., Master 2 Grants, PhD International Mobility Grants) the development of scientific themes (research grants) or the creation of new research teams at the biocluster (Atige grants).
➡️  Contact for more information on Genopole’s research support programs: Atige, ApogeeBio, Master 2 Grants, International Mobility Grants.

CitationJulien Picot, Deputy Director of Global Infrastructure at Genopole: “Assistance for the acquisition of high-tech equipment, thereafter mutualized for all of the biocluster’s actors, is a Genopole specificity. In all, this represents more than 600 instruments over 24 specialized platforms that cover the technological needs of Genopole’s strategic sectors: innovative therapies and the bioeconomy. It is a major investment, but an indispensable one as it ensures that the site’s laboratories and businesses can overcome technological hurdles and make progress through the key phases of research for their innovations. This success story illustrates that very well.
➡️ Contact for more information on access to the shared-use technological platforms.

With the support from
Région île de France