Curie-Cancer and Vygon Sign Partnership Agreement Extension for Development of Innovative Medical Devices
16 Apr 2013

Curie-Cancer, the body responsible for developing Institut Curie’s industry partnership activities and Vygon, a French family-run business that develops, produces and markets medical devices, including catheters and implantable ports for administering chemotherapy treatments, today announce their partnership to develop a new generation of innovative medical devices; mainly for use in chemotherapy. The partnership aims to introduce them to European, the US and Asian markets.

Chemotherapy treatments for cancer are generally administered intravenously, using implantable ports (small reservoirs that are surgically implanted beneath the skin). Injected or infused liquid passes through the port via a catheter that is connected to the port at one end, with the other end inserted into a large thoracic vein in proximity to the heart. These reservoirs have a thick silicone membrane that is punctured each time a course of chemotherapy is administered. They can be left in place for several months if required by the duration of a treatment. Unfortunately, as with any regularly accessed implanted medical device, these implantable ports present a risk of infection. This may have serious consequences for patients whose immune defenses are compromised as a result of chemotherapy.

Although this type of infection is quite rare, doctors at the Institut Curie are keen to have implantable ports that carry an even lower risk of infection. Vygon, a world leader in this field, is looking to offer its clients a range of products with greater infection resistance than those available on the market today.

Curie-Cancer and Vygon have agreed to design implantable ports that address these requirements, using technology developed by the Institut Curie. An initial partnership agreement was signed in 2010, with each party contributing their expertise and part of the necessary resources.

“The members of my team worked collaboratively to develop more resistant implantable ports in response to a genuine demand from caregivers, with regular interaction with Vincent Semetey, a physical chemist at the Institut Curie and Marc Esteve, director of the anesthesiology department at the Institut Curie and an expert in implantable ports, ” said Jean-Luc Carrez, R&D director at Vygon.

After a very positive three-year initial partnership, the two partners are committing to an extension of their arrangement. This will support the final stages of the work that will bring the new range of products to the international market using Vygon's international influence.

“As a medium-sized business it is not always easy to access academic innovation. However, it is something that we need to do in order to remain competitive on the international market,” said Stephane Regnault, chairman of Vygon's board of management. ‘In Curie-Cancer, we have found a trusted partner who has shared our aims right from the start. Without a doubt, this is one of the main reasons why our organizations have such a productive relationship and why we are delighted to continue working together.”

The partners have decided to embark on a new partnership agreement focusing on a new technology. This will see them explore new approaches and share the risks inherent in this type of exploration, which has much more in common with basic research than with applied research.

“We are looking forward to contributing to the development of a mid-sized French company such as Vygon, while also exploring new approaches to medical devices. This project encapsulates the Institute's primary aim of providing practical solutions for industry and ultimately, for patients,” said Damien Salauze, director of Curie-Cancer. ”It is clear once again that the expertise developed at the Institut Curie for the purpose of basic research also addresses the requirements expressed by our industry partners.”

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