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Montpellier CHU innovation extractor reveals some real gems

Information updated on 26/10/21

This tool is designed to turn good ideas by hospital staff into reality. Supported by Montpellier Métropole since the outset, it has already led to three startups now assisted by Montpellier BIC. Here’s what it’s all about.

Extracteur du CHU - Christophe Bonnel et Anne Richard Verchere

CHU innovation extractor - Christophe Bonnel and Anne Richard Verchere

The Montpellier CHU university hospital’s innovation extractor is designed to detect innovative ideas wherever they may be found at the hospital, and help the people who have ideas turn them into reality.
Created in January 2017, this structure symbolizes Montpellier CHU’s desire to leverage innovation to benefit patients and caregivers, notably by encouraging intrapreneurship within its teams. Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole has thus provided active support since the beginning, so that this completely unique tool could enrich the level of excellence in the territory’s health field through startup companies and the jobs they create.
Also funded by Occitanie Region, the innovation extractor identifies any and all project ideas, whether by administrative staff of healthcare personnel, regardless of their job position or function. When an idea successfully makes it through the selection committee, the person who came up with the idea is placed in charge of implementation.
The concept is appealing.

“At this time, we have received nearly 150 CHU staff members and evaluated at least 110 project ideas,” explains Christophe Bonnel, operational manager of the innovation extractor. He adds: “We constantly have 20 to 25 files to assess.”

Some ideas may also lead to a company creation project. Montpellier BIC takes over in those cases. Perfect complementarity.

“The extractor identifies and brings out project ideas. Then, we get involved when there are plans to create a startup,” says Isabelle Prévot, director of Montpellier BIC.

Three startups resulting from the Montpellier CHU innovation extractor – KanopyMed, Place des Soins, and DiappyMed – are now assisted by the world-renowned incubator. Montpellier BIC offers its know-how and expertise to accelerate the process for creating innovative companies and helping them ramp-up their activity. This includes in-depth focus on the business model, professional interest for the innovation, market expectations, strategic advice, coaching, and workshops.

“Thanks to Montpellier BIC’s Jump’In Creation program, I was able to get training on all aspects of entrepreneurship, such as the business plan, management, HR, marketing, and communication. A company founder needs all those skills but does not necessarily possess them, especially when coming from a research background, like me,” points out Grégoire Mercier, co-founder of KanopyMed, which has three employees.

In charge of the data science team at Montpellier CHU, he developed an innovative tool to predict the risks of hospitalization for people with cardiac deficiencies. The tool uses artificial intelligence and has many compelling uses as a decision-making tool for public and private stakeholders, as well as for defining strategies and improving the healthcare journey. KanopyMed joined Montpellier BIC in late 2019, after refining its project within the innovation extractor and working with Alter’Incub.

“Montpellier BIC brings us a sort of prestigious label, as well as exposure,” adds Grégoire Mercier.

Florent Sirri shares his opinion. When he was a nurse at the Montpellier CHU university hospital, he noticed that students training to be nurses needed to be followed differently due to legal changes. Thanks to the extractor, his idea worked its way all the way through creating a startup, which is when Florent Sirri joined the Jump’In Creation program.

“We were in a post-creation phase. The program helped us organize the way we presented ourselves. We learned to pitch the company. The innovation extractor continues to follow our progress,” he says.

Founded in 2020, his company Place des Soins is progressing nicely. They hope to start testing their software containing follow-up tools by the end of 2021 at Montpellier CHU.

“The innovation extractor and Montpellier BIC really make a good team,” adds Florent Sirri.

While their joint effort helps young companies get started in the fields of predictive medicine and evaluating skills acquired by students, it also accelerates projects involving personalized medicine. DiappyMed is the third startup to be accelerated by the two partners.
Omar Diouri, CEO and co-founder of the company, got the idea while working at the Montpellier CHU. A research engineer in the Endocrinology-Diabetology-Nutrition team of professor Éric Renard, he developed a smartphone application based on artificial intelligence to facilitate insulin dosage based on the insulin dependent person’s exact needs. The application takes the person’s general physical activity into account, as well as their current physical activity, by analyzing all useful data recorded by the smartphone running the application, including movement, along with data from connected blood glucose monitors. The user can also indicate what they want to eat, in order to obtain a precise calculation of the corresponding insulin dose. 
But the founder really knew very little about entrepreneurship.

“The extractor enabled me to take my project all the way and create a marketable product. Montpellier BIC got involved at a crucial step. Their support was essential, notably offering an objective perspective on all aspects of the company,” explains Omar Diouri.

In addition to turning real innovations into reality much faster, this partnership also favors employment through job creations by assisted startups. It is another brick in the Med Vallée wall.

“Montpellier CHU and Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole interact perfectly with each other,” concludes Anne Richard Verchere, in charge of Innovation Promotion and Partnerships at Montpellier CHU.

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