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France Funds $17M Cancer Profiling, Biomarker Effort

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The French government has provided €13.4 million ($17.4 million) to fund the Innovative MODels Initiative (IMODI), a partnership aimed at facilitating the development of new cancer treatments.

Headed by Oncodesign, a preclinical cancer therapy assessment firm, the IMODI partners plan to pool their resources to develop, profile, and evaluate more than 200 experimental cancer models, tests for molecular selection, and a range of derivative biological products.

They also will create a centralized biobank that will include over 40,000 samples and data analysis tools for identifying tumor and immunological biomarkers, as well as biomarkers from the microbiome.

The funding was awarded by the French government agency OSEO, which supports research projects and technology transfer, guarantees funding from banks and equity capital investors, and funds investments along with banks.

The overall budget for the seven-year IMODI project is expected to be €41 million.

Oncodesign's partners in the project include commercial partners Sanofi; Servier; Ipsen; Pierre Fabre; Transgene; Biofortis; Oncomedics; Ariana Pharma; and CTI Biotech.

IMODI also will include partners at seven French institutions, including the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research; the National Center for Scientific Research; the Georges Francois Leclerc Center in Dijon; the Leon Berard Center in Lyon; Synergie Lyon Cancer; the University of Strasboug; and Toulouse University Hospital.

"This project offers a unique opportunity to increase the rate of innovation and identification of cancer therapies and biomarkers, with the creation of an organized national structure designed for the development of personalized medicine which directly benefits patients," Oncodesign President and CEO Philippe Genne said in a statement.