Science: Claude Grison de Montpellier winner of the European Inventor Prize

The Montpellier ecochemist Claude Grisondirector of research at CNRS and founder of the start-up BioInspir, win the European Inventor Award in the category “Search”. She developed a method for using plants to extract metallic elements from polluted soils. and transform the harvested metals into catalysts. According to the European Patent Office, “The “ecocatalysts” produced by this ingenious process give the chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries access to a new source of raw materials.”

it’s in munich (Germany) on June 21, 2022 that theEuropean Patent Office (EPO) awarded to French scientist Claude Grison the European Inventor Award 2022. Allows you to create “a new source of catalysts that can be used to produce biodegradable plastics, antimitotics (used in cancer treatment), DNA and messenger RNA caps, cosmetics or even key intermediates for fine chemistry.”

The award was given to Claude Grison (FR), winner of the European Inventor Award 2022 in the Research category. Copyright: European Patent Office.

“Our award recognizes inventors who have demonstrated their ability to think different. By combining botany and chemistry, Claude Grison developed an original invention that solves two problems at the same time. In fact, his invention contributes both to reducing the environmental impact of the chemical industry and gives access to a new source of raw materials that are much sought after by many industries.stressed during the ceremony the President of the IEP, Antonio Campinos.

Claude Grison in his laboratory… Copyright: European Patent Office. Photo by Nanda Gonzague

Claude Grison’s invention was born from a question asked by one of his students, who wanted to know if plants “metal eaters” could be used to clear mining sites.

She understood that if a way could be found to recover the metals stored in the plants, it would give access to a new source of materials such as zinc and nickel, used to produce catalysts for the chemical industry.

Few scientists believed it was possiblebut Claude Grison was not discouraged… In 2011, she filed a patent application for her method of extracting metals, then transformed into catalysts, which allowed her to commercialize it.

Claude Grison and his team are now using these ecocatalysts to produce new types of molecules for the chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. To date, they have synthesized around 5,000 biomolecules, some of which are commercially available, as well as an anti-mosquito spray whose components were obtained by echocatalysis.

The Montpellier ecochemist explains that, although he specializes in research, he values ​​the potential concrete impact of his work: “I don’t want to be a simple researcher, I want to be a citizen researcher. I want my research to be useful, to be applied to society, to contribute – even a little – to answering current questions!”

A true success story for this “citizen researcher”, at the crossroads of ecology and green chemistry. Research Director at CNRS and Scientific Director at the start-up BioInspir, which she founded in 2020, she embodies the innovative force of French scientific entrepreneurship.

Claude Grison, at the crossroads of eology and green chemistry. Photo copyright: European Patent Office. Photo by Nanda Gonzague.

Claude Grison bases his work on the beneficial impact can have in society. By transferring them from the laboratories to large-scale production, he fuels the desire to make them accessible to everyone, with the hope of creating vocations. As highlighted during the ceremony, “Claude Grison’s victory illustrates the importance of the ecological turn of French innovation”,

Philippe Moret

ORGANIC EXPRESS: Claude Grison has a doctorate in molecular chemistry, obtained in 1987 at the University of Lorraine. From 1994 to 2003 he taught chemistry at the University of Nancy, then at Montpellier from 2008 to 2013, before taking up his current position in 2016 at CNRS (also in Montpellier). During his academic career, she has published 211 research papers (including 25 book chapters) and supervised 26 doctoral students. Claude Grison has won numerous awards, including the Montpellier University Innovation Medal of Excellence 2020 and the Suez Foundation Award for the program “Act for Water Resources” in 2018. In 2015, it received the Legion of Honor (for the rank of knight) and is elected in 2021 member of I’European Academy of Sciences. She is also a member of the National Academy of Pharmacy.

in search of the lethal weapon against cancer

another french was also awarded in the category “SME” : Elodie BelnoueFrench immunologist and now director of research at
the swiss company Amal Therapy (Boehringer Ingelheim) developed with his
Swiss teammate Madiha Derouazi and his team, a new medical platform called Kisimaper manufacture therapeutic vaccines to treat different types of cancerwhat at first seemed impossible.

These therapeutic vaccinesdeveloped by Amal Therapy founded in 2012, it stimulates the immune system, so that it emits a strong response to the disease. The team is currently working on its first vaccine., intended to treat metastatic colorectal cancer. It is currently being tested in patients, alone or in combination with products intended to activate the immune system.

The therapeutic vaccines of Elodie Belnoue and Madiha Dezouazi must come complement existing cancer treatmentssuch as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

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