DVS for Therapeutic Innovation in the Field of Cancer

The DVS for therapeutic innovation in the field of cancer seeks to validate increasing numbers of innovative targets in epigenetics and help develop focused therapies (external beam radiotherapy, dynamic phototherapy, high intensity focused ultrasound etc.)


Cancer research is a very active and competitive field for which validated innovative targets, multidisciplinary expertise providing greater understanding of the physiopathology and biology of cancer and a combination of technologies is required.

Moreover, the French cancer research landscape is governed by a multidisciplinary structure comprising various stakeholders: major research organisations (INSERM, CNRS, CEA etc.), universities, healthcare and research facilities (regional teaching hospitals (CHRU), cancer centres (CLCC) etc.) and healthcare industries. Since the 2000s, cancer research has been organised and funded in a special way as a result of government policies implemented through two 'cancer plans' managed by the National Cancer Institute (INCa).

However, technology transfer in emerging, innovative fields remains problematic due to the risk they present to industry despite their potential therapeutic impact. This is true of the two multidisciplinary fields of epigenetics and focused therapies in which the DVS intends to take action.

Chemical biology or the acquisition of pharmacological tools is a discipline which straddles the fields of chemistry, biology and IT; its aim is to explore chemical and biological spaces and understand interrelations between these. Using this approach, it should be possible to validate new molecular targets for epigenetic therapeutic applications identified by proteomic methods (or protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions) or phenotypic screening. Extensive work is currently being done on chemical biology in France and more support is now essential if the French scientific community is to maintain a central role in therapeutic innovation.

Multidisciplinary approaches in physics, chemistry and biology are a major source of therapeutic innovation. Although there is a desire to restructure one or more academic networks on focused therapies to cater for research projects, those seeking to implement technological innovations are faced with a number of barriers which often prove to be a real minefield.

Challenges and expectations from industry

Results on the genomics and proteomics of cancer and the identification of innovative targets such as epigenetic regulation are highly beneficial to industry in terms of developing new therapies. Biological data acquired in vitro and/or in vivo in physiopathological models must be accompanied by pharmacological validation tools (chemical biology) to prove the relevance of targets. In this field, emerging topics which are currently perceived as being high-risk would be well suited to public/private partnerships.

Focused therapies are therapeutic methods which harness various technologies. They can be used to prevent or manage relapse. Moreover, they can also be used in combination with surgery, chemotherapy or targeted therapies. There are currently few industrial stakeholders operating in this sector and those involved in this field mainly develop equipment and software. Focused therapies are a source of multidisciplinary innovation and their clinical efficacy needs to be proven before they can be developed.

Planned action

Validation of innovative epigenetic targets

  • Map the most promising epigenetic targets identified by Aviesan members
  • Offer expertise and strategic analysis (particularly on intellectual property) to prioritise the best targets
  • Support 'early drug discovery' projects in the national interest
  • Help, coordinate and support the scientific community in structuring an 'early drug discovery' academic network for validating innovative targets with a view to initiating drug discovery projects in partnership with industry.
  • On the basis of strategic analysis (IP, benchmark) and talent mapping, support and recommend innovative projects with a view to securing maturation funding from technology acceleration and transfer companies (SATTs), MATWIN, INCa etc. so that industrial partnerships may be forged.
  • Organise R&D meetings between academics and industry

Support the group of experts on focused therapies

Le DVS accompagnera un groupe d’expert Thérapies Focalisées afin que ces technologies innovantes puissent avoir un relais industriel et un transfert en clinique.
Dans un premier temps, le groupe de travail va mettre en place un recensement des forces et déterminer les besoins afin d’y répondre.


French Academic Strengths in Epigenetics and Cancer – Projects Book 2nd Edition – February 2016

Date created: May 2013
Coordinator: Christophe Cans (Inserm transfert)/ Damien Salauze (Institut Curie)
Coordinating institution: Inserm transfert/ Institut Curie
Policy officer: Mélina Pocard

The DVS committee (steering group) will be responsible for setting goals for the DVS, monitor its development and validate reports, studies and strategy documents produced by the DVS. It will comprise 12 to 15 people who will meet 3-4 times a year.

It includes:

  • DVS coordinators: Christophe Cans (Inserm transfert)/Damien Salauze (Inst. Curie)
  • A policy officer (to be confirmed)
  • Representatives: CNRS, INCa, Unicancer, CEA, INRIA, ITMO Cancer, CHRU, MATWIN
  • Two industry representatives from ARIIS.
  • Two representatives from technology acceleration and transfer companies (SATTs)
  • A representative from the theme valorisation consortium (CVT) management committee
  • One or more consultant scientists

The epigenetic working group responsible for suggesting methodology and performing and/or monitoring actions relating to mapping of targets, scientific analysis of targets, analysis of intellectual property and economic analysis.
 It will notably comprise the following members:

  •  DVS coordinators, DVS policy officer, Aviesan members
  • Aviesan consultant scientists in the field including: Geneviève ALMOUZNI (CNRS-INSB) Institut Curie, Paola ARIMONDO (CNRS-INC) combined unit with Pierre Fabre USR 3388 CNRS/Pierre Fabre – Toulouse, Jean-Paul BORG, (INSERM) CRCM, Institut Paoli Calmette, Université Aix Marseille, coordinator of the 'Proteomics and Drugs' working group of ITMO Cancer, Claude Sardet (CNRS-INSB) UMR 5535 IGMM – Montpelier.

The group will also include (a) Experts on the property of research organisations who will perform studies and cross-analysis of Aviesan members' IP portfolio (b) Specialists in technical/economic analysis with a view to prioritising epigenetic targets.

The focused therapies working group responsible for identifying barriers and requirements for transferring innovative techniques to clinical practice.
 It will notably comprise the following members:

  • DVS coordinators, DVS policy officer, Aviesan members
  • Aviesan consultant scientists in the field including: Marie DUTREIX (Inst. Curie, Université Orsay), Nicolas Foray (Inserm, CLB Lyon), Philippe Giraud APHP, HEGP Paris) Serge Mordon Inserm, Lille), François Guillemin (CLCC Alexis Vautrin, Nancy), Nicole Basset Seguin (APHP Saint Louis, Paris), Jean-Yves Chapelon (Inserm, Lyon), Mickael Tanter (Inserm, ESPCI, Paris)

As above, this working group will include other members capable of performing technical/economic analyses and cross-analyses of intellectual property.

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