Technology transfer to industry: 2019 achievements
Remedee raises €11 million to develop pain management solution
Remedee, a Grenoble-based startup, is developing a pain management solution based on stimulating the secretion of pain-relieving endorphins. The company recently announced that it had completed a second round of fundraising, bringing in €8.5 million (The company had previously raised €2.5 million in bootstrapping funds in an unannounced fundraising round in 2017). Remedee’s solution leverages a 1 sq. mm chip developed with Leti that emits very-high-frequency (60 GHz) waves when it comes in contact with the skin, boosting the secretion of endorphins. The solution can do away with the need for analgesics for patients suffering from low to moderate chronic pain.
Since Remedee was founded in late 2016, it has stayed under the radar while completing the development of its system and starting clinical trials. The safety of the technology has been confirmed, and the company is now testing it on post-surgical pain, arthritis, and migraines. The solution is expected to reach the market in 2022..
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Morphosense heads offshore
Morphosense was founded in 2016. Since then, Neuron, the company’s sensor-based structural health monitoring solution, has been used on land. Today, the solution, which provides 3D deformation and thee-axis vibration measurements, is ready for offshore applications. Morphosense will respond to the monitoring needs of offshore oil and gas drilling platforms—many of which are nearing the end of their theoretical lifespan of 35 to 50 years. To be able to continue using the platforms, operators must be able to demonstrate that the structures are in good health at all times.
The Neuron system recently obtained ATEX Z1 and Z21 certifications for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, a must for the oil and gas industry. Morphosense, which holds licenses to three Leti patents, is still addressing structures on land and finished equipping at 630-meter-long bridge in Taiwan in June.
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Antennas: Radiall and Leti lay the groundwork for 5G telecoms
Radiall and Leti have worked together on a variety of multi-partner R&D projects and contract R&D projects since 2003. Today, they are deepening their partnership through a new joint lab that will develop antennas for tomorrow’s 5G telecommunications infrastructure. The fronthaul/backhaul (Intermediate links between the network backbone and edge) links use frequencies from 50 GHz to 90 GHz, where high-gain antennas must be used to offset high transmission losses. The joint lab will also address the challenge of cost: Because IoT devices require many connection points, antennas must be affordable.
The partners previously developed a 5G antenna now sold by Radiall. The company will initially assign around ten employees to the new lab with the goal of getting new products to the market within 18 to 36 months.
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ISKN enters video gaming market
ISKN, a startup founded in 2014 to develop and commercialize an augmented interaction technology hatched at Leti, made its reputation with the Slate, which transforms handwritten drawings, sketches, and notes into digital files in real time. This summer the company ramped up its international business development strategy, presenting its latest product, Tori, in New York in July. ISKN joined forces with Japanese video gaming giant Bandai Namco Entertainment to develop Tori, which combines elements of digital and physical play to create a learning and entertainment ecosystem for children. Shortly after unveiling Tori in New York, ISKN cut the ribbon on its second North American subsidiary in Montreal (the first is in Philadelphia).
The company, which employs 50 people, also plans to open an office in Asia by the end of this year. ISKN’s R&D department is still based in Grenoble.
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Assystem joins Grenoble Institute of Technology-Phelma Partners Circle
International engineering firm Assystem has been very involved in activities at Phelma since the school’s inception. Assystem and Phelma recently signed a partnership agreement that will deepen their cooperation.
Assystem will provide financial support and will also contribute actively to academics and career placement by offering Phelma students and graduates internships, jobs, and positions under the French government’s international volunteer program. Since 2010 a total of 35 Phelma graduates have been hired by the company, which also hosts around five Phelma student interns per year, mainly from the undergraduate and graduate programs in Energy and Nuclear Engineering.
As a member of the Partners Circle, Assystem will participate in Partners Day and other Phelma events. One of the anticipated highlights is a tour of the ITER reactor in Cadarache. Assystem is prime contractor on the project and has assigned 170 employees to the site in the south of France.
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Startup Rosi wins two awards in one month
July 2019 was a big month for the founders of startup Rosi, which specializes in the recycling of photovoltaic-industry waste. In the space of just a few days the company won an award from French energy agency ADEME for its Redesign project and the i-Lab 2019 competition, bringing in €600,000 in grants and advances and generating promising leads, including some major international corporations.
Rosi utilizes processes developed at SIMAP* to transform PV silicon cutting waste (40% of the material’s pre-cutting volume) into polycrystalline silicon that can be used to manufacture new cells. The company is already working on a project for a customer in Norway. And, thanks to the award for Redesign, Rosi will build a demonstrator unit capable of recovering the silver and silicon contained in end-of-life solar panels.
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Patents: CEA remains very active
France’s National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) released its 2018 ranking of patent filers. The CEA held on to its fourth-place ranking, coming in just behind three industrial corporations (Valeo, PSA, and Safran) with 674 patent applications published. This was the CEA’s best year ever with the exception of 2016 and 2017 (684 applications).
It is also important to point out that Grenoble-based research in micro and nanoelectronics fuels a large part of the CEA’s patents—something that is not reflected in the INPI ranking. And the CEA’s main industrial partners for this type of research are also very well ranked. STMicroelectronics ranked 13th with 168 patent applications, and Soitec ranked 46th in the nation and first for mid-sized companies (250 to 5,000 employees).
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Michelin acquires stake in Primo1D
Primo1D just completed its second round of fundraising, bringing in €6 million from investors confident in the company’s unique technology, which places antenna components and a RFID tag inside a special yarn, which can then be integrated into materials like textiles, plastics, and rubbers. The company’s new shareholders include Michelin Ventures, the global tire leader’s VC fund. This is the first time that Michelin Ventures has announced one if its investments publicly.
Primo1D plans to hire seven employees this year and complete R&D work on four projects already underway (for tires, electric and fiber optic cable, rope for farming applications, and the apparel industry). This will be the year that Primo1D scales up its technology to prepare for volume manufacturing starting in 2020. The company will continue to focus on R&D as well, and has just renewed its joint lab with Leti for an additional three years.
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MagIA raises €1 million to complete its analysis system
Startup MagIA Diagnostics, which is housed at CIME Nanotech, recently announced that it had raised €1 million from two investors active in medtechs and medical diagnostics. The influx of funds will be used to complete a pre-industrial prototype of the company’s innovative blood analysis system. The system, which leverages developments made by G2ELab and LMGP, can perform tests in just fifteen minutes from a single drop of blood.
The funds will also position MagIA to complete clinical trials on a first Hepatitis B panel and, later, develop a combined test kit to screen for sexually-transmitted viruses. MagIA is targeting screening centers and nonprofit groups that provide services to drug addicts, the incarcerated, and migrants. The company plans to release its first products on the market in 2020.
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Technology transfer: Sylvain Colomb succeeds Alain Briand
Sylvain Colomb took over from Alain Briand as head of the CEA Grenoble’s tech transfer and spinoff programs in January.
Colomb, 41 years old, is an electronics engineer and has personal experience starting a spinoff. He is one of the cofounders of Ethera, spun off from the CEA in 2010 to develop indoor air quality analyzers based on a nanoporous material. Colomb came back to the CEA in 2016, taking a position at the CEA Tech regional branch in Hauts-de-France.
His roadmap aligns with the national CEA policy to boost startup creation. His strategy is to increase the number of spinoffs by identifying and supporting researchers with potential startups and by leveraging the local networks of startups spun off from the CEA.
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SOI Academy Shanghai launch a success
In order to promote FDSOI, their advanced CMOS technology, to Chinese manufacturers, Leti and Soitec are ready and willing to organize events in China. In late November they met with some 200 managers, technicians, and circuit designers in Shanghai. The two-day “SOI Academy” was facilitated by experts from Leti and Soitec, and featured speakers from IMEP-LaHC, IBM, and Shanghai-based SITRI.
FDSOI enables the fabrication of low-power circuits capable of achieving high frequencies for RF applications. However, in order for FDSOI to carve out a position, the associated stakeholders (foundries, fabless manufacturers, designers, etc.) will need to consolidate further, especially in Asia. Leti and Soitec plan to run two or three more SOI Academy events in China in 2019.
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