NovAliX acquires Sanofi site in Strasbourg and creates Guy Ourisson Research Campus
French CRO kicks off new growth phase by boosting research capacity, with plans to use site to set up therapeutic innovation campus, including center for cryo-electron microscopy
Strasbourg, France, January 6, 2022 – NovAliX, a Contract Research Organization (CRO) specializing in drug research and development, today announces the first stage in its development project that will allow it to offer clients a more complete, high-quality portfolio with enhanced biological and pharmacological services.
NovAliX acquired the 1.5 hectare (3.7 acre) Sanofi site, including a 8,000 m2 (86,000 ft2) building designed to the highest standards for pharmaceutical research; placing its activities alongside prestigious research institutes such as the Laboratory of Supramolecular Chemistry (Institut de Science et d’Ingénierie Supramoléculaires – ISIS) founded by Jean-Marie Lehn, a Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry.
The site will be known as the Guy Ourisson Research Campus, an homage to the scientist originally behind the Strasbourg site. It will be shared by a number of users:
- NovAliX, with its main headquarters and scientific center for providing research services
- The Biophysics Institute for Biomedical Research (Institut de Biophysique pour la Recherche Biomédicale – IBRB), a center co-founded with an academic group, which focuses on medical innovation arising from advances in cryo-electron microscopy
- The Biotech Factory, comprised of laboratories dedicated to therapeutic innovation used by several biotechnology companies
“Our main goal was to find a buyer who could maintain very high standards of quality biomedical research. NovAliX ticked every box on our list,” said Jacques Volckmann, head of R&D France at Sanofi. “I’m delighted to see NovAliX further develop its activity in Strasbourg following this purchase and to see it become a key player in the local ecosystem with its international ambition. Sanofi will also benefit from the expertise of NovAliX’s teams – with a partnership announced at the end of 2021, through which we are currently working together to develop new DNA-encoded libraries.”
“By acquiring this site, NovAliX gets the chance to accelerate its development, make use of new biological and pharmacological capacity, and therefore strengthen its position as a CRO and become a vital and valuable partner, contributing to the success of its clients’ therapeutic research programs,” said Stephan Jenn, president and co-founder of NovAliX. “This transaction also represents an opportunity for the company founders to bring our vision of the future of research to life. This campus serves as a manifesto, it promises a new way of organizing discovery research and offers a one-stop location, bringing stakeholders together in order to foster the emergence and success of therapeutic innovation.”
The Biophysics Institute for Biomedical Research is a project that brings NovAliX together with a world-renowned academic group. It is not only a technological platform offering cryo-electron microscopy at the highest level, but also a location dedicated to creating new therapeutic options and technologies. Just as medical imaging has contributed hugely to progress in clinical research, NovAliX strongly believes that cryo-electron microscopy, which it has been able to offer since 2016, has the same potential to push forward future therapeutic research.
“It is important for NovAliX to build a campus that will support the creation of a network within the therapeutic innovation ecosystem,” explained Denis Zeyer, CEO of NovAliX. “Once we arrive on site, we will be embarking on this new adventure and welcoming an initial group of companies to the campus, including Alysophil, Ksilink, Reach Separations and Urania Therapeutics, with others to follow. By setting up this site — which we like to call the Biotech Factory — focused specifically on innovation and entrepreneurship, and locating it within Biovalley France competitivity cluster at the heart of the Upper Rhine region, it provides much more than access to office space and well-equipped laboratories. It also creates an immersive experience, with other onsite stakeholders having a wealth of scientific, industrial and entrepreneurial expertise to share.”
The construction program, led by Guillaume Delemazure from DeA architects, will commence in 2022 and transform the site at the campus; it will be appropriately kitted out for all the activity due to take place.
Partners: Banque des Territoires, groupe Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (Patrick François, Alexandre Schnell and Amaury de Malartic)
Financial establishments: Caisse d’Épargne Grand Est Europe (Mireille Maury, Sébastien Pierre and Gleb Vorobyev), Banque Populaire Alsace Lorraine Champagne (Thierry Kormann and Gaëlle Tassery) and La Banque Postale (Paul-Henri Wallut)
Legal and counseling: Bird & Bird (Emmanuelle Porte, Virginie Estéoule and Benjamin Lichtle), Orion (Pascal Schmitt)
Architecture firm and consultants: DeA (Guillaume Delemazure)
About Guy Ourisson
Guy Ourisson (1926–2006) studied at the École Normale Supérieure where he graduated valedictorian in physics, before earning a PhD in chemistry from Harvard University and a doctorate in physics from the Sorbonne. As well as a man of science, he was also someone who encouraged excellence among his peers. His chemistry classes were attended by Jean-Marie Lehn, a future Nobel laureate, who would go on to work with Ourisson in his lab. He later became president of the Academy of Sciences, the first chancellor of the Université Louis-Pasteur in Strasbourg, and director of higher education at the French Ministry for Education. Guy Ourisson was also behind the research center being based in Strasbourg.
Founded in 2002 and based in Strasbourg, France, NovAliX is a drug discovery-focused CRO with several unique technologies. It employs nearly 200 researchers, with capabilities combining chemistry and biophysics. NovAliX offers its clients original collaborative models and extensive services within the framework of research programs dedicated to drug discovery. Its ambition is to continue its development by both strengthening its internationalization, and extending and integrating the new capabilities essential to the success of its clients’ therapeutic research projects into its technologies and base of expertise.