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Med Vallée in the spotlight at Futurapolis Health event

Information updated on 29/11/21

An initiative of Montpellier Métropole, Med Vallée seeks to create a world-class cluster to focus on health, food, and the environment. Med Vallée was presented at the opening of the Futurapolis Health event on October 15. Here’s an overview.

Futurapolis Santé 2021
Med Vallée will leverage all the assets the Montpellier Métropole area has to offer. Driven by Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, the initiative will lead to the emergence of a world-class cluster specializing in health, food, and environmental issues. These topics are tightly intertwined with each other, and all are areas of expertise covered locally.
Med Vallée was presented publicly on October 15 during the round table that opened the fifth edition of Futurapolis Health (“Futurapolis Santé”), an annual event organized by the magazine Le Point in partnership with the city of Montpellier and Montpellier Métropole, at the Opera-Comédie concert hall in downtown Montpellier. Occitanie Region was also a partner for the event this year.
Attending the presentation were Michaël Delafosse (Mayor of Montpellier and President of Montpellier Métropole), Hind Emad (Montpellier Métropole Vice President in charge of Economic and Digital Development), Thomas Le Ludec (Managing Director of the Montpellier CHU university hospital), François Pierrot (University of Montpellier Vice President in charge of innovation), and Marie-Thérèse Mercier (Regional Counselor for the Occitanie Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region).
Their interventions were followed by pitches by leading stakeholders deeply committed to the project: Marc Ychou (Managing Director of ICM – Val d’Aurelle and SIRIC Montpellier Cancer), Karine Chorro (CEO of Phost’in Therapeutics), Patrick Caron (President of Agropolis International), Aline Bsaibes (Managing Director of ITK), Éric Servat (Director of ICIREWARD, the UNESCO International Center for Water Resources at University of Montpellier), and Geneviève Marais (CEO of Aquatech Innovation).
Med Vallée is a 30-year project whose ambitions are further strengthened in the Covid-19 crisis context.

“France must regain its health sovereignty,” highlights Michaël Delafosse, adding: “The  strengths that unite the Montpellier metropolitan area throughout its territory can contribute by joining forces so that the area can become the space that fosters and stimulates innovation in the medical field and regarding health, food, and environmental issues.”

That is precisely the purpose of Med Vallée, a project that is taking shape in a particularly favorable location, benefiting from a dynamic health ecosystem, academic excellence, recognized expertise in agronomics, food, and biodiversity, the MUSE i-Site (the only certified university of excellence in the Occitanie region), as well as the Montpellier School of Medicine, the oldest still-active medical school in the Western world, providing the roots for momentum that has consistently remained strong in terms of innovation, progress in knowledge, and economic benefits.

“We have incredible assets and good fortune in the Montpellier Métropole area. On one hand, we benefit from the local presence of all of France’s leading research and higher education institutions, with a community open to the world focusing on agriculture and food issues; and, on the other hand, we have an inherent capacity to handle these topics with respect to environmental, economic, and health questions. There are few places in the world with such strengths,” analyzes Patrick Caron.

Furthermore, entrepreneurial culture is solidly established in the area. “We have doubled the number of companies set up on our various campuses over the past five years,” points out François Pierrot, whose university is ranked third worldwide for ecology in the prestigious Shanghai ranking.

“The reason for our strong ties to Med Vallée is to transform knowledge produced at our university into new products, services, and public policies to improve life for people,” he adds.

The Montpellier CHU university hospital helps develop that perspective. After launching an "innovation extractor” with support from Montpellier Métropole and the Occitanie Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region, Montpellier CHU plans to reserve space on its land and in its buildings to host creators and industrial companies. At the same time, it is preparing to create an “audio-campus” dedicated to innovation related to hearing, announces Thomas Le Ludec, whose establishment is also getting ready to create a biotherapy platform with the company MedXCell. “We will file for a building permit soon,” adds the Montpellier CHU’s Managing Director.
There are other emblematic examples, such as SIRIC Montpellier Cancer. The only SIRIC (integrated cancer research site) in the Greater Southern France area, SIRIC Montpellier Cancer is in the process of acquiring a dedicated building for hosting a cancer innovation transfer center, with support from Montpellier Métropole. Marc Ychou states clearly:

“Med Vallée will accelerate knowledge transfer to patients,” notably thanks to progress fostered by the cluster.

Another example is ICIREWARD, as Eric Servat explains: “Water quality and health issues are linked very closely.” Also vice president of the Aqua Valley competitiveness cluster based in Montpellier, he adds that the Montpellier Métropole area will also be home to Hydropolis. Funded by Occitanie Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region, with support from Montpellier Métropole, this new science park dedicated to water will unite companies and research at a single site. “There are no other projects like this in France,” he adds.
The stakes are therefore extremely high. Montpellier Métropole knows that it can also count on its community of businesses and startups. Phost’In Therapeutics is one of them.

“We are a pure Med Vallée product, founded nearly 15 years ago following talks with researchers in the chemistry cluster and the Montpellier Neuroscience Institute,” notes Karine Chorro.

The same can be said for ITK, “a spinoff from Cirad,” says Aline Bsaibes, as well as for Aquatec Innovation. “We are deeply interested in committing ourselves to Hydropolis,” announces Geneviève Marais.
The stars are in perfect alignment. This is particularly true, as the French government and Occitanie Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region have decided to become founding members of Med Vallée alongside Montpellier Métropole.

“Med Vallée must meet the great challenges of tomorrow. It will support our health and economic sovereignty, while also creating jobs,” summarizes Marie-Thérèse Mercier. “This is a typical example of what local authorities can accomplish by uniting their strengths and all territorial stakeholders” around a common objective,” concludes Hind Emad.

Med Vallée, a project that makes sense.
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