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Chief Executive Officer, Cellectis
CELLECTIS R&D in genome engineering
Can you tell us about Cellectis?
Cellectis specialises in the development and production of meganucleases (molecular scissors) which are used for in vivo genome engineering. Meganucleases allow us to re-write (replace, remove or add) DNA sequences in a living cell with a high degree of precision and can be used in a wide range of therapeutic and biotechnological applications. Cellectis is strongly placed in this market, holding more than 50 agreements with major players in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, based on the most extensive portfolio of patents in the sector (148 patents and patent applications, some exclusively licensed from the Institut Pasteur, which was a prime mover behind the company's foundation in 2000).
In 2004, Cellectis relocated from the Institut Pasteur to the Biocitech technology park in Romainville. What was the reason for this move?
Biocitech is dedicated to the life sciences, hosting biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals and fine chemicals companies that are looking for a high-quality industrial environment and the associated services. For us this was the perfect setting for implementing our industrial strategy after we left Biotop, the Institut Pasteur incubator. The company is growing steadily: it currently has 60 employees. It has raised a total of more than €40 million through private and public funding rounds. Cellectis has been listed on the Alternext market of NYSE Euronext (code: ALCLS) since 6 February 2007.
Does this mean that Paris Region has now developed a world-class biocluster?
Paris Region is an increasingly attractive location. The Medicen Paris Region competitiveness cluster highlights the region's key advantages in this field: industrial operators specialising in biotechnology, a strong R&D capability in life sciences, excellence in clinical research - epitomised by the AP-HP hospital network and its 24 leading research centres, and academic prowess - generating a steady flow of new graduates in our specialist fields.
update December 3, 2008