Institut Merieux Strengthens its Commitment to Medicine and Global Public Health

Dec 13, 2010, 04:30 ET from Institut Merieux

PARIS, December 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Institut Merieux strengthens its commitment to medicine and global public health via an ambitious innovation policy, the structuring of a food safety/nutrition hub and the creation of a company dedicated to diagnostics in developing countries.

One year after reinstating the historic name of Institut Merieux for the family holding devoted to industrial biology, Alain Merieux and the management teams of the companies, bioMerieux, Transgene, Merieux Nutrisciences and Merieux Developpement, have presented the actions implemented within the scope of their innovation and international development strategy with:

    - the structuring of a food safety/nutrition hub based around Merieux
      NutriSciences, completing and supporting the diagnostic and therapeutic
      Areas covered by Institut Merieux

    - the Group's innovation policy with, in particular, the first holdings
      by its investment company, Merieux Developpement

    - the development of biology accessible to all with the creation of
      IMAccess, a not-for-profit company devoted to diagnostics in developing

"Institut Merieux has undergone considerable changes to address the new global challenges in medicine and public health. The arrival of Jean-Luc Belingard as President Directeur General of bioMerieux and Vice-President of Institut Merieux will enable me to devote more time to Institut Merieux and the Merieux foundations", stated Alain Merieux. "Now, more than ever, scientific innovation, multidisciplinary approaches and international development are at the heart of our strategy. In an ever-changing healthcare environment, with infectious disease representing a constant threat, the emergence of new risks associated with food and now better known interactions between infectious diseases, cancers and nutrition, we have made sure we have new resources to achieve our long-term targets. The structuring of a nutrition/health hub, which is highly complementary to our therapeutic and diagnostic activities, is a strong example. Our innovation strategy is also taking form with Merieux Developpement and a stronger international network of scientific experts. Finally, IMAccess aims to offer a complementary approach to conventional models, to make quality biology and diagnostics accessible to the greatest number and thus combat infectious diseases, with no borders between North and South."

Institut Merieux prioritizes nutrition

Institut Merieux is increasing its commitment in the area of food safety and nutrition by structuring a food safety/nutrition hub based around Merieux NutriSciences. With Silliker, its very first company in the field of food safety, Biofortis and Bioagri, Merieux Nutrisciences is now developing an end-to-end offering to meet the needs of players in the food processing chain: raw material and environmental safety and conformity, food quality, R&D and clinical trial program in the area of nutrition to help develop foods offering a health benefit.

The originality and strength of the Merieux NutriSciences approach lie in the combination of Silliker's know-how in the food sector with Institut Merieux's scientific expertise and international network, making it possible to include a medical vision and a public health dimension in all its activities.

With its financial structure strengthened by an increase in the subscribed capital by Institut Merieux in 2010, Merieux NutriSciences can envisage a relevant acquisition policy and speed up its international roll-out strategy, particularly in emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil.

Major advances in Institut Merieux's innovation policy

One year after it was founded, Merieux Developpement has announced three minority holdings in innovative companies in the health sector:

    - Supersonic Imagine, a French company based in Aix-en-Provence, which
      markets a new generation ultrasonic scanner, equipped with a cutting-
      edge imaging technique (ultrasound elastography), thus opening up
      further clinical applications in oncology, for diagnosis and
      characterization of lesions (breast, thyroid, liver, prostate).

    - QuantaLife, a Californian company, whose Droplet Digital(TM) PCR
      technology represents major progress in the area of molecular biology,
      in terms of sensitivity and precision, making it possible to offer
      multiple applications in human genetics and, in the medium term, an
      effective instrumentation solution for cancer and infectious disease

    - Biom'Up, a French company based in Lyon, marketing innovative
      biomaterials and implantable medical devices for surgery and developing
      a new range of products (guided regeneration, adherence prevention and
      hemostasis), aimed at patient comfort and safety and simplified
      surgical procedures.

In the course of 2010, Merieux Developpement set up an international cooperation and joint investment network, along with a special partnership with the French Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (CEA). The purpose of this partnership is support businesses developing high added medical value products, by means of an original approach based on complementary expertise and close cooperation with CEA Investissement.

The Merieux Research Grants program steps up a gear. These grants are awarded to projects from leading researchers and clinicians in areas of strategic interest for Institut Merieux: diagnostics, therapy and nutrition. Since the program was launched in 2009, over 20 grants have been awarded to researchers from public or private laboratories, in North America, Europe and Asia, on topics offering strong potential for the Group. This program helps strengthen Institut Merieux's scientific network of experts around the world and give bioMerieux, Transgene and Merieux NutriSciences access to clinical and technological advances which will be the source of new diagnostic tests and new therapies.

Serving global public health since its inception, Institut Merieux is increasing its action in developing countries through the creation of IMAccess.

With IMAccess, Institut Merieux, in keeping with its tradition, is seeking to place its expertise in infectious disease and its bio-industrial experience at the service of diagnostics accessible to the greatest number.

A 100% subsidiary of Institut Merieux, this new company is dedicated to the development, production and supply of rapid diagnostic tests, for governments, international health organizations, NGOs, etc.

These tests, complying with the most exacting international quality standards and adapted to the frequently extreme constraints associated with use in the field, focus on diseases which are having a severe impact on underprivileged countries, such as AIDS, dengue, meningitis, malaria, Leishmaniasis, etc. The first products should be available in 2012.

IMAccess essentially relies on research and development teams based in France, Brazil and China, along with the Group's expertise in bioproduction and its distribution network.

In order to speed up the development of these tests and make them accessible in terms of price, IMAccess has adopted an original social business model, a not-for-profit company, reinvesting all its profits in its R&D programs.

About Institut Merieux

Institut Merieux is committing its experience in industrial biology to serve medicine and public health across the globe. To fight against infectious diseases and cancers, it imagines and develops new approaches in the fields of diagnostics, immunotherapy, food safety and nutrition.

Through its three bio-industrial companies, bioMerieux, Transgene and Merieux NutriSciences , working closely with its entities devoted to innovation (Merieux Developpement and ABL Inc.), Institut Merieux has the potential to offer solutions for new global public health challenges:

bioMerieux is listed on Euronext, represents a 59% holding and is based in Marcy l'Etoile (France). A global player in the area of in vitro diagnostics and industrial microbiological testing, bioMerieux employs 6300 people and generated sales of EUR1.223 billion in 2009. It is present in 150 countries with a network of 39 subsidiaries.

Transgene is listed on Euronext, represents a 55% holding and is based in Strasbourg (France). This biotechnology company specialized in immunology applied to the treatment cancers and infectious diseases employs 280 people in its programs.

Merieux NutriSciences represents an 89% holding and is based in Chicago (USA): it is a service company specialized in improving food safety and nutrition. With a staff of 4000, Merieux NutriSciences is, with its three units, Silliker, Biofortis and Bioagri, now present in 16 countries,via close to 60 accredited laboratories and represents sales totaling over $350 million.

Advanced BioScience Laboratories Inc (ABL Inc): this company is 100% owned by Institut Merieux. Based in Washington DC (USA), it employs over 100 people in virology R&D programs.

Merieux Developpement: a company investing in the area of health, 100% owned by Institut Merieux and based in Lyon (France).

Institut Merieux employs over 10,000 people committed to global public health and generates sales in excess of EUR1.4 billion.

SOURCE Institut Merieux