The 125-year old Institut Pasteur has never relied entirely on state funding: today, only a third of its €174 million ($170 million) budget comes from the health and research ministries. In part due to changes instituted in the last two years, license fees and the exploitation of the Pasteur trademark now provide about 45% of Pasteur's budget-with €72 million generated in 2001. And the efforts of the Institute to do technology transfer have resulted in the creation of nine start-ups in the past four years.
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The Institut Pasteur, France's leading private medical research institution, has licensed some of its functional proteomics technology to Hybrigenics SA and houses the start-up on its campus, providing it with various technology support functions. Hybrigenics is using automated functional proteomics systems for research into infectious diseases and cancer.
CTG Pharma SRL's founders believe that the unique properties of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) hold the key to exciting new anti-inflammatory therapeutics. The Italian start-up plans to tag already-approved compounds with an H2S-releasing molecule. The strategy has several potential advantages: it would create novel chemical entities, it would reduce the risks of drug development, and it could be applied with a variety of drugs.
Patent expiries in Europe on proteins such as EPO and interferon alpha may open up a huge market for cheaper versions of these proteins-one which GeneMedix and others are preparing to tap into. But it's a risky game, since there's still no regulatory process in Europe for approving such products.