Technology Transfer Office
Actualité - Partnership


Supported by the National Research Agency and housed at Institut Curie, the IMOCA Chair aims to share the expertise of the Institut Curie, in particular its Immunity and Cancer Unit and Sanofi. The objective of this public-private partnership is to accelerate the development of new molecules in the field of immuno-oncology.
Sanofi logo

IMOCA (ImmunoMOdulation – CAncer) marks the meeting of a leader in fundamental research, translational and clinical - in cancer immunology: Institut Curie and a pharmaceutical development giant: Sanofi. Thanks to this public-private collaboration on one of the most promising therapeutic approaches in cancerology, this chair aims to ensure the accelerated transfer of knowledge acquired by the academic actor in the industrial world, with the aim of making the most accessible rapidly possible new immunotherapies to patients.

The program of industrial chairs is supported by the ANR (National Research Agency), which recalls on its website that their mission "will be to carry out fundamental and applied research on the one hand and to disseminate knowledge produced through training through research. "

Concretely, the IMOCA chair will be led by Sebastian Amigorena, CNRS research director and director of the Cancer and Immunity laboratory (Inserm / Institut Curie). Already involved in fundamental research and translational research, the internationally renowned immunologist will be keen to train and sensitize new generations of researchers to the importance of this "back and forth" between the fundamental and the applied , between the public and the private sector. The setting up of this industrial chair was carried out by Curie-Cancer, the structure that conducts the industrial research partnership activities of Institut Curie.

IMOCA: discover, apply, form and disseminate

 «The IMOCA project is devoted to the study and development of new therapeutic anti-cancer strategies based on immunomodulation and in particular dendritic cells» completes Sebastian Amigorena. «Immunotherapy is about to revolutionize the management of cancers and this "giant step" has been possible thanks to a change of point of view. Now cancer is no longer seen only as a disease of genes, but also as a disease of the body, the environment of the tumor and the immune system.»

Indeed, tumor cells proliferate within the organism with impunity. They escape the immune system. It is by understanding how they do this that researchers can now propose new solutions to counteract them: these are immunomodulators. These new molecules will be at the heart of the research carried out in the framework of axis 1 of this project, which has five. This axis will be dedicated to the analysis of the molecular mechanisms of immunity and immunomodulation, special focus on the sentinels of the body, dendritic cells.

Three other axes will focus on the development of new approaches to immunotherapy, including the development of experimental models for their evaluation.

The last axis will focus on the training of researchers with a dual "industrial and academic" culture in order to facilitate the links between these two universes and thus the development of new medical applications.

« Due to Sanofi's involvement in the upstream stages of research, this new structure will ensure that projects are managed in line with pharmaceutical development processes, adds Nathalie Amzallag, project manager in immunotherapy at Institut Curie. It should therefore make it possible to bring new molecules more rapidly into clinical trials.»

« This chair will help to anchor one of the strategic axes of the Institut Curie's medical-scientific project in a long-term partnership with one of the leaders of the industrial world. It also reinforces the place attributed to immunotherapy in the project 2015-2020 of the Institut Curie whose high point will be the setting up of an immunotherapy center in 2016 which will bring together researchers and doctors . It is also a springboard for young immunologists, trained by research and sensitized to industrial problems, will be able to pursue their careers between the two universes. This new collaboration strengthens the links between Sanofi and Curie-Cancer which, since March 2012, are already cooperating in research against ovarian cancers. This first step opens up a collaboration with Sanofi and the Curie Institute in the longer term on immunotherapy with the beginning of 2016, the creation of a joint research program (JRP), a new concept very reactive for to integrate new projects into the collaboration on the water. This type of program corresponds to new forms of interaction that I wanted to see developed from the first exchanges with Sanofi and I am delighted, »
Geneviève Almouzni, PhD, Director of Institut Curie Research Center

Press release
CP curie sanofi chaire imoca FR.pdf