secretariat [at] (LBPA office)

"Macromolecules and biosensors" in maturation project grants awarded by SATT Paris-Saclay

Malcom Buckle - Directeur LBPA - ENS Paris-Saclay © David Arraez
Malcolm Buckle © David Arraez
Along with Claude Noguès, Malcolm Buckle, LBPA Director (ENS Paris-Saclay) and CNRS Research Director, outlines the role of SATT Paris-Saclay during the call for a maturation grant award up to selection as one of the six successful projects chosen in 2016.

Main themes and goals of the project ? What was the role of SATT during the early phases in preparation for this particular maturation project ?

This project was initiated essentially by a question that has been a universal problem for a very long time, namely how can we reduce non-specific binding of macromolecules to surfaces used in biosensors and optimise therefore the distribution, orientation and availability of target molecules thereby enhancing the selectivity and sensitivity of biosensors.

The arrival of Claude Noguès in the lab was pure serendipity since not only did she have an excellent physical, chemical and biochemical background but she also immediately not only grasped the nature of the problem but very quickly embarked on a research programme that lead to an original and efficient solution.
Claude also had the vision to realise that this technological breakthrough was exactly the sort of thing that could be inserted into the emerging system of valorisation being proposed by SATT.

We therefore immediately prepared a proposal that sailed through the selection process for pre-selection then found ourselves at the fascinating interface between academic research and an applied business oriented approach, and we managed somehow to write a project that appealed to the SATT and were gratified by the award of a maturation project.

The role of the designated SATT team through this process was primordial; we were accompanied by extremely proficient, talented and enthusiastic people from SATT who calmly lead us through this terminological minefield, organised a whole series of meetings and discussions and in a very professional way prepared us for the maturation phase.

Experiences of the co-construction phase of this project with the SATT Paris-Saclay

As we hinted to in the last reply, the collaboration with the SATT team was flawless at every one of the following steps :

  • preparation of the "pitch", a short presentation that encompasses the scientific technological but essentially commercial and marketing aspects of the potential start-up
  • preparation of the written part of the project with its endless array of milestones and GANTT charts,
  • preparation of documents leading to a patent application,
  • interactions with various legal cabinets,
  • the recruitment of personnel who will accompany us through the maturation phase and acquisition of technological material essential for the project

The response of the SATT team was efficient and professional and at no moment were we ever given the impression that our efforts would not be crowned with success.

Support received for this project running for 18 months, beginning in October 2017

The maturation phase consists of a heavily controlled series of transitions through well defined milestones each one leading to tangible deliverables with the goal at the end of the day to provide well characterised products, industry defined standard operating protocols and a patent database with an immediate capability to be out-licensed.

The ultimate goal is the creation of a start-up. Such is the momentum that we have obtained through the pre-maturation and co-construction phases that we are well in advance in terms of the relative maturity of the project and it is extremely probable that the start up company will in fact be formed during and therefore in parallel with the maturation phase.

It is again to the credit of the SATT that this is completely coherent and compatible with the maturation phase. The 18-month project is adequately financed allowing the recruitment of two engineers who will work independently but synergistically on separate aspects of the project.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the help that we received from the valorisation department at the ENS Paris-Saclay and especially to point out that our initial contacts and interactions with the SATT were actively encouraged and assisted by the administrator of the IDA, thus underlining the important federative role of the IDA in the valorisation strategy of its component laboratories.