Page 15

CIM33

N°33 I quarterly I April 2014 Innovation | 15 w Graftys by Fui Lee Luk w For years, patients with osteoporosis, dental implants, or accidental bone damage had no alternatives to complex, invasive bone graft operations. Now bone engineers have devised simpler options pioneered by Graftys’ biomaterials, which strikingly promote natural bone healing. “Orthopedic and dental markets are seeing rapid growth due to global population ageing and longer life expectancy, and the company intends to expand with them,” says Jean-Marc Ferrier, Graftys co-founder and head of legal, clinical, and regulatory affairs. The company was launched in 2005 when two materials scientists1 and three businessmen teamed up in Aix-en- Provence (southern France) to develop a bone graft substitute based on the synthesis of the calcium phosphate found in natural bone. Licensed by the CNRS, its patent owner, the invention led to the development of porous ceramics and injectable cements that set in situ when applied to bone voids in spinal, sinus, or dental operations, for example. They are then gradually replaced by natural bone after being infused by the patient’s fluids and cells. European and Asian exports began in 2007, while a distribution office opened in Chicago in 2009 to cater to the growing US market. Today, Graftys has 32 employees, exploits 8 patents, and derives up to 95 % of its turnover from exports to some 20 countries. With its skyrocketing 3400% growth in revenue in only 5 years, the company received the Biotech and Health prize of the 2012 Deloitte Technology Fast 50, which rewards fast-growing tech firms. To remain competitive, Graftys’ R&D unit in Nantes (France) continues its collaboration with the CNRS, notably for the development of drug devices blending cements with active ingredients for local administration. The most striking of these is a cement combined with an osteoporosis-preventing molecule, injectable in the hipbone or vertebrae, to be clinically tested in 2014. By tackling a disease whose treatment costs worldwide amount to €150 billion per annum, Graftys’ ingenious solution fills a crucial gap “at a time when systemic osteoporosis prevention is not reliable.” 01. Bruno Bujoli from CEISAM (CNRS / Université de Nantes) and Jean-Michel Bouler from LIOAD (Inserm / Université de Nantes). Cutting-Edge Bone Engineering q Bone graft substitute application in a humerus. Contact information: Graftys, Aix-en-Provence. Jean-Marc Ferrier > jean-marc.ferrier@graftys.fr Turning Waste into Clean Energy by Clémentine Wallace w Turning toxic liquid industrial waste—used oils, petroleum, solvents, pesticides—into purified water, energy, and precious metals, with no noxious leftovers, might sound too good to be true. Yet this is what the Paris-based start-up Innoveox has been offering as a genuine waste-management alternative for the past two years. “Not only is it more environmentally friendly, it is also more affordable than traditional methods like incineration, landfilling, or chemical treatment,” says company CEO Jean-Christophe Lépine. The technique, developed more than a decade ago in the Bordeauxbased CNRS laboratory ICMCB,1 relies on a process known as supercritical water oxidation. Inside reactors, compounds are subjected to temperatures between 350 and 500°C with pressures of 221 bars. At such high energy levels, composites reach a supercritical phase—a state that is neither liquid nor gaseous. “It’s a sort of fluid state in which the organic matter becomes completely soluble,” says Lépine. “This miscibility makes it possible to break down the compound very rapidly through oxidation.” Oxygen is infused into the admixture, and transforms the organic matter into water and energy. Part of this energy is then used to fuel the reactor, which—once up and running— functions independently. The rest of the energy can be used by the customer. “Treating one ton of waste per hour generates about one megawatt of extra energy,” notes Lépine. “Besides, inorganic matter is transformed into metal oxides that can be harvested as valuable metal,” he adds. Using compact transportable units, Innoveox offers its patented technology to clients on-site in Europe, Canada, Asia, and the Middle East. In addition to benefiting from the energy products of their waste, industrial companies can thus avoid the costs and dangers associated with toxic waste transportation. The company is now working with the ICMCB to adapt its technology to the treatment of solid waste, such as carbon fiber and solar cells. 01. Institut de chimie de la matière condensée de Bordeaux (CNRS). Innoveox Contact information: Innoveox, Paris. Jean-Christophe Lépine > www.innoveox.com Paris Aix-en-Provence © graphtys


CIM33
To see the actual publication please follow the link above