Emglev Therapeutics project wins i-Lab 2022: towards Institut Curie's 29th start-up
A new start-up project from Institut Curie, "Emglev Therapeutics", has been awarded a prize at the 24th i-Lab innovation competition organized by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in partnership with Bpifrance. Growth accelerator for deeptech start-ups, the competition supports the prize-winners by assisting them in their development through the payment of a grant of up to €600,000.
Emglev, a company in creation that has been supported for a year by Institut Curie's incubation program and the Paris Biotech Santé incubator, is led by a duo of co-founders with complementary expertise: Christelle Masdeu, PhD, business manager at Institut Curie's Technology Transfer Office, and Sandrine Moutel, PhD, research engineer and manager of the CurieCoreTech - Recombinant Antibodies platform at Institut Curie. Franck Perez, PhD, CNRS research director and head of the Cell Biology and Cancer unit at Institut Curie (CNRS/Sorbonne University) and Jean-Christophe Rain, PhD, president of the biotech company Hybrigenics Services, have also joined the project as co-founders.
Emglev Therapeutics: Next-generation antibodies for improved treatment of solid tumors
In this 2022 edition of the i-Lab competition, the Emglev Therapeutics project convinced the jury with its innovative concept: the exploitation of synthetic single-domain antibody libraries, which Emglev owns, to develop the next generation of antibodies and create cutting-edge immunotherapies to treat solid tumors, which account for 90% of newly diagnosed cancer cases.
While the use of antibodies for immunotherapy has revolutionized treatment strategies for many diseases, including cancer, solid tumors remain largely unaffected by this approach due to limitations related to the size of the antibodies, their difficulty in penetrating the tumor tissue, immunogenicity, etc. In this context, Emglev aims to develop new antibodies that are more functional and adapted to solid tumors, as explained by Sandrine Moutel, co-founder of Emglev:
By combining a variety of expertise from Institut Curie, cancer biology and antibody engineering combined with the latest advances in immunotherapy and cell therapy, Emglev's mission will be to develop a new generation of antibodies, with excellent bio-physical properties, to conceive innovative therapeutic solutions in the treatment of solid tumors.
This i-Lab label will be decisive in accelerating the creation of Emglev and the next steps in its development.
In addition to recognizing the quality of our project, this prestigious award will allow us to obtain new financing and to take another step towards effective immunotherapies to overcome these diseases for which current treatments are not satisfactory.
says Christelle Masdeu, co-founder of Emglev.
While Emglev Therapeutics will focus on solid tumors, the company aims to extend its therapeutic arsenal to a wide range of indications with a major medical need, such as inflammatory and infectious diseases.
Towards Institut Curie’s 29th start-up
Following the awarding of two Institut Curie start-ups at i-Lab 2020 for their innovative work in immuno-oncology, this announcement once again illustrates the excellence of the research conducted at Institut Curie and its potential for economic development. Backed by an ambitious strategy to support the creation of start-ups, Institut Curie's incubator has, since 2002, led to the emergence of 28 companies with a variety of technologies to bring breakthrough innovations to market and improve patient care and quality of life.
We are delighted with this 7th i-Lab labeling obtained since 2017, which testifies to the excellence of the research conducted at Institut Curie and the relevance of the integrated incubator model supported by the Carnot Curie Cancer label. With the upcoming creation of Emglev, we are getting closer to the milestone of 30 biotech and medtech companies born at Institut Curie, a milestone that will recognize the strategy put in place, the quality of the teams and, above all, Institut Curie’s innovation potential.
 Single domain antibodies are low molecular weight antibodies that have a wide range of therapeutic applications due to their small size, simple production and high affinity.
 Immunogenicity is the ability of an antigen to provoke a specific immune response.
 Six Institut Curie start-ups have already been recognized for their innovative work in immuno-oncology: Stimunity and Inorevia in 2017, Sideros and Honing Biosciences in 2019, and Egle Therapeutics and AVATAR Medical in 2020.