On November 16, 2018, more than 60 of the best and brightest from the academic, institutional and entrepreneurial worlds met at the Villejuif Cancer Campus for an event around investment in the future of medicine. As part of this ambitious development plan, Cancer Campus is creating an environment for innovative life science and healthcare companies to establish themselves and expand thanks to state-of-the-art facilities, a broad array of support services and close proximity to top-level basic and clinical research institutes.
The decision to headquarter this 150-acre oncology “cluster” in Villejuif, next to the renowned Gustave Roussy Institute, was both obvious and results-oriented, allowing for the closer collaboration between experts in biotech, oncology and healthcare. A further boost will come in the form of the Grand Paris Express metro expansion plan that will link Cancer Campus to Paris and other suburban areas.
Cancer Campus owes its dynamism to the unique ecosystem that brings together local and national institutions, medical professionals and key economic players like the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, entrepreneurs, start-ups and multinational corporations. The presence of accelerators like OncoEntrepreneur and OncoNumérique — supported by the Paris Region and financed by the European Regional Development Fund — adds to the attractiveness of the site. These programs aim to support innovation and business creation in line with the Paris region’s skillset and economic priorities.
The real estate sector has been quick to respond to the recent development in Villejuif, with private operators addressing the needs across the value chain (e.g. incubators, accelerators, hotels and daycare facilities).
Leveraging AI to fight cancer
Valérie Pécresse, President of the Paris Region, in partnership with Cancer Campus, announced an entrepreneurial challenge for start-ups and companies in the healthcare and digital field. As part of the Paris Region’s AI Plan 2021, and with the support of Cancer Campus and Medicen, this first challenge in the spring of 2019 will task companies with producing an algorithm to help doctors determine the probability of breast cancer recurrences. The competition will be open to start-ups and SMEs, who will then work with researchers and benefit from a €1.5 million grant to finance projects.
The Villejuif Bio Park Incubator
Opened in 2011, this business incubator has already hosted 37 companies in the biotech and healthcare sphere, with 50% working on oncology-related applications.
Gustave Roussy is the premier European cancer center, focusing on patient care, research and teaching. The Institute treats all types of cancer patients.