Proxis Développement bets on Marseille-based biotech Gene&GreenTK

success story
Proxis Développement bets on Marseille-based biotech Gene&GreenTK
The Gene&GreenTK team
01 July 2021 / Biotech, Grow your business, Start your business

A start-up incubated at the IHU Méditerranée Infection

Proxis Développement is a French manufacturing group with an international presence that has seven production plants and a workforce of 560 employees. At its five R&D centers, the company develops solutions based on chemistry, industrial microbiology and biotechnology, mainly for the food, health, water treatment and agricultural sectors.

In January 2021, believing strongly in the research of the Marseille-based biotech Gene&GreenTK, Proxis Développement became its main shareholder. It's a giant leap forward for the start-up incubated at the Méditerranée Infection University Hospital Institute. Its goal is to advance to the industrialization stage while continuing its scientific research focused on innovation and complementarity with Proxis Développement.

The genesis of the start-up, which stems from academic research conducted by Aix-Marseille University, was the development of two enzyme technologies: VesuTOX to decontaminate nerve agents such as sarin, which is a terrorist and military threat, and VesuBACT, a sustainable alternative to antibiotics and traditional biocides. Gene&GreenTK's research, supported by the DGA through various programs (e.g. Rapid, Astrid) and financially assisted by Bpifrance and Région Sud, is now mature.

"Since our inception in 2013, and thanks to the financial support we received, we have focused exclusively on R&D to expand our patent portfolio. With Proxis Développement, we are now moving towards production and market entry" explains David Daudé, PhD, who is the HR Director, CEO and CSO of Gene&GreenTK. "The manufacturing group is helping us transform our proofs of concept into product applications. It has the experience and infrastructure we need to scale up. We can steer our technologies towards the most promising markets by removing regulatory and production-related obstacles" se réjouit-il.

An agreement based on R&D maturity and a shared vision

Identified in the hot springs of Mt. Vesuvius, the enzyme used by Gene&GreenTK has remarkable natural powers of resistance and stabilization at extreme temperatures and pressures. Its efficiency and speed in breaking down the target toxins make it a perfect candidate for industrialization. The enzyme is biodegradable and does not pose any risk to the environment.

In the beginning, the discussions focused on licensing agreements, but Proxis Développement quickly realized the potential of this Marseille-based start-up.

"All the enzyme enhancement work was instrumental. Gene&GreenTK has validated its synthesis processes, which guarantees production, and has demonstrated the enzyme's yields with numerous proofs of concept", says Damien Grizard, Innovation Director at Proxis Développement.

Agriculture is the first sector the manufacturer and the start-up plan to target. Fighting phytopathogens is one area of development, but there are many fields of application, such as animal health to limit disease, water treatment, combating the proliferation of algae and boat anti-fouling to prevent corrosion, which point to many other potential markets.

Access to the Aix-Marseille ecosystem

Infectiology is a leading medical specialty in Marseille. Gene&GreenTK was incubated at the Méditerranée Infection University Hospital Institute, making it one of the spin-offs produced by local scientific excellence. The firm devoted its early years to fundamental research, but in 2018, Gene&GreenTK recognized the need to open up to the outside world to grow. The start-up joined Eurobiomed, the health competitiveness cluster for the Sud/Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur/Occitanie regions, and reached out to Novachim, the Chemistry and Materials Innovation Cluster. It began gleaning entrepreneurial expertise to lay the organizational and financial foundation for its future.

"We have a lot to gain by getting to know the innovation and business development leaders in Marseille. We were able to refine our thinking and objectives, define our market positioning and take advantage of high-quality mentoring. Eurobiomed helped us obtain funding from the regional government. This strong support from local actors in the Aix-Marseille area allowed our start-up to grow and to secure this agreement with Proxis Développement" notes David Daudé. With Gene&GreenTK, he has shown how to successfully convert publicly funded research into commercially viable innovative products.

You have a takeover project or you wish to invest in a company in Provence, discover the support program "Go Between in Provence" which facilitates the connections between leaders.