Creation of a patient-centered biocluster in oncology

Sanofi, Gustave Roussy, Inserm, Institut Polytechnique de Paris and the University of Paris-Saclay are committed to developing personalized medicine in France through a patient-centered oncology cluster - the Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster.

Paris (France) - June 30, 2021 - Following the announcements made by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Strategic Council for Health Industries, Sanofi, Gustave Roussy, Inserm, Institut Polytechnique de Paris and the University of Paris-Saclay have announced plans to create the Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster, a center bringing together key players in oncology innovation. This project, which is unique in Europe, will bring together the best scientific, human and technological expertise to shape the future of personalized medicine and accelerate the discovery of new customized cancer treatments. Within ten years, the objective is to be able to offer rapid diagnosis at the patient's bedside, including disease modeling and the construction of an individualized and personalized therapy..

Oncology is a field where the medical needs of patients remain largely unmet and where innovations must lead to improved diagnosis, treatment and survival.  Ensuring that France and Europe are leaders in oncology innovation in 2030 is a key challenge. France has world-renowned strengths in oncology (quality of academic research with a number of publications that ranks France 2nd in the world, hospitals, industrial companies, venture capital funds, incubators); these assets must lead to the emergence of therapeutic and diagnostic solutions that will transform the lives of patients and enable the emergence of a truly global innovation ecosystem.

The Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster project aims to build on this high-potential ecosystem by bringing together the key players in oncology innovation (patients, hospitals, universities, pharma companies, investors, national research organizations, patient associations and public authorities) to develop the most effective synergies. With strong political support, the project will lead to the creation of a Prospective Oncology Center in the Paris region.

The Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster would stand out with:

  • The co-location and multi-disciplinary nature of the five founding players, which will promote the conversion of fundamental research into concrete and transforming applications for the benefit of patients,
  • Its ability to generate massive economic impact (creation of several thousand direct jobs, patents, several billion euros in fundraising, etc.),
  • The choice to support the most ambitious projects, and the proposal of a "unique, facilitating place" with secure access to the anonymized data of over 100,000 patients,
  • The mobilization of skills, services and infrastructures to develop the future of personalized medicine and the emergence of leading companies in oncology in the region. These research projects would be conducted by new joint public-private teams, in addition to existing units, for example those of Inserm/UP-Saclay at Gustave Roussy,
  • A solid foundation for the re-emergence of European therapeutic sovereignty by locating R&D and production capacities for new cancer therapies and diagnostics in Europe (with the ambition of five French unicorns in oncology),
  • The will to open up and attract many players in the world of oncology, beyond the founding members, very quickly.

"The Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster intends to be both unique and complementary to existing facilities through its research strategy, which integrates all dimensions - clinical, fundamental, academic, industrial, transdisciplinary, etc. - on a single theme, located in a single location, as close as possible to patients. The ambition of this major project is to enable France and Europe to become world leaders in cancer research," said Professor Jean-Charles Soria, CEO of Gustave Roussy.

“Improving the care of cancer patients is fundamental for Sanofi. Facing an opponent as challenging as cancer, I am delighted that public and private players bringing together the best medical, academic, and scientific expertise, join forces to advance research and create a European dynamic. The convergence of biology and medicine with data science and artificial intelligence offer major opportunities to accelerate therapeutic innovation and create future leading companies in oncology, positioning France at the forefront of innovation in Europe and the world,” said Paul Hudson, Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi.

"I am delighted with this strong impetus that will combine the best of academic research with ambitious industrial development and will fully contribute to scientific advances in the fight against cancer," said Dr. Gilles Bloch, President and CEO of Inserm.

" The University of Paris-Saclay is very pleased to be a founding member of the Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster, which is part of a will to respond with our industrial partners to one of the major challenges of our time. This common trajectory with our faculties of medicine and pharmacy irrigates training, research and innovation in cancerology. The University's high disciplinary level in this field is enriched by interfaces in AI, data sciences, applied mathematics and engineering, also at the highest world level,” said Sylvie Retailleau, President of Université Paris-Saclay.

"By participating in the creation of the Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster, Institut Polytechnique de Paris affirms its strong commitment to a major challenge facing our society, cancer research, by contributing its skills in AI, data science and engineering. This union of all the public and private players around a great ambition, allowing us to bring innovations in this field to scale, will help our country achieve its therapeutic sovereignty," said Eric Labaye, President of Institut Polytechnique de Paris.

Next steps

After a preparation and scoping phase, the first projects of the cluster should start by the end of 2021. They will focus on identifying new therapeutic targets based on a large collection of patient samples. Beforehand, a legal structure that will host the Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster will be created and its first employees, including its Managing Director, will be recruited, while the technological platforms, data and first training courses will be accessible (via the Cluster) from 2021/2022. The founders are already meeting with various players in the fields of oncology, data and AI, who could join the cluster in the near future.

From 2023/2024, the opening of the Prospective Oncology Center on a site close to Gustave Roussy will mark a real acceleration for the cluster: the objective will be to select at least ten new projects per year.

After 2025, the cluster will enter a phase of sustainability and expansion, notably through the emergence of projects focused on the creation and optimization of new treatments and drugs and their development (accelerated and facilitated by artificial intelligence), on the invention of new administration systems to provide patients with personalized treatment, and on the deployment of innovative treatment methods directly at their bedside, while disseminating these models so that they benefit all patients regardless of where they are treated in the territories.


About Gustave Roussy

Classed as the leading European Cancer Centre and the fifth on the world stage, Gustave Roussy is a centre with comprehensive expertise and is devoted entirely to patients suffering with cancer. It is a source of diagnostic and therapeutic advances. It caters for almost 50,000 patients per year and its approach is one that integrates research, patient care and teaching. It is specialised in the treatment of rare cancers and complex tumours and it treats all cancers in patients of any age. Its care is personalised and combines the most advanced medical methods with an appreciation of the patient’s human requirements. In addition to the quality of treatment offered, the physical, psychological and social aspects of the patient’s life are respected. 3,200 health professionals work on its two campuses: Villejuif and Chevilly-Larue. Gustave Roussy brings together the skills which are essential for the highest quality research in oncology: a quarter of patients treated are included in clinical trials.

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About Sanofi

Sanofi is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. We are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions.

With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe.

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About Inserm

Inserm: science for health

Founded in 1964, the French National Institute of Health and Medical research (Inserm) is a public science and technology institute, jointly supervised by the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and women’s Rights.

Inserm is the only French public research institute to focus entirely on human health and positions itself on the pathway from research laboratory to the bed of the patient. The mission of its scientists is to study all diseases, from the most common to the rarest. To this end, most of its laboratories are located as close as possible to caring and teaching facilities. This structure is a guarantee of success, through the pooling of skills, the attractiveness for talent and the proximity to patients. With a budget of nearly one billion euros, Inserm supports more than 280 laboratories throughout France. All of these teams include nearly 14,000 researchers, engineers, technicians, managers, hospital and university staff, post-doctoral fellows, etc.

Since 2020, Inserm has been one of the leading French players in the fight against Covid-19.

About Institut Polytechnique de Paris

Institut Polytechnique de Paris (IP Paris) is a public higher education and research institution that brings together five prestigious French engineering schools: École Polytechnique, ENSTA Paris, ENSAE Paris, Télécom Paris and Télécom SudParis. Under the auspices of the Institute, they share their bicentennial combined expertise to fulfil two major ambitions: to develop educational programs of excellence and cutting-edge research in science and technology. Thanks to the academic anchorage of its five founding schools and its alliance with HEC Paris, IP Paris positions itself as a leading academic and research institution in France and internationally.

About Université Paris-Saclay

Université Paris-Saclay brings together ten constituent faculties and institutes, four Grandes Écoles, the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, two associate institutions and shared laboratories with six national research organisations.

With 48,000 students, 8,100 lecturers and 8,500 administrative and technical staff members, Université Paris-Saclay offers a comprehensive and varied range of undergraduate to doctorate level programmes and engineering degrees, renowned for their quality thanks to the reputation and commitment of the University’s academic staff.

Located in the south of Paris on vast sites that stretch across Paris, Orsay, Évry and Versailles, Université Paris-Saclay benefits from a strategic geographical and socio-economic position that is strengthened by its international visibility. A leading University, Université Paris-Saclay is recognised for its excellent Mathematics and Physics programmes but also for Biological and Medical Sciences, Agriculture, Engineering, and its extensive Humanities and Social Sciences courses. Close to Paris, Université Paris-Saclay is nested in a protected natural area, at the heart of a dynamic economic hub.

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