In 2009, ITQB group leader Dr. Yann Astier sets up an Interbio collaborative project with Prof. Samitier, from the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC, Barcelona) and Prof. Vieu from the Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems (LAAS, Toulouse), with the aim of developing nanochannels for single molecules studies.
Following this project, Yann Astier took advantage of the Interbio network to promote his start-up company, Nanopore Solutions, in Barcelona, Valencia and Toulouse. Now, NanoporeSolutions is involved in 2 EU-funded consortia, is an approved contractor of the European Defence Agency and has an international customer portfolio. Dr. Yann Astier explains…
What is a nanopore?
Plainly, a nanopore is a very small hole. Currently, nanopores are mainly used as single molecule sensors. They represent a very promising technology in the field of single molecule unlabeled DNA sequencing.
Why did you create NanoporeSolutions?
Prior to my position at ITQB, I contributed to the design of the first system for the detection of singleDNA bases through a protein nanopore at the University of Oxford. When I left Oxford in 2006, my goal was to develop artificial nanopores. In a context of public funding shortage, I created NanoporeSolutions to complement the funding of my lab. In fact, it is far easier to get into European consortia under this umbrella.
How is the company running now?
Biochemistry labs from all over the world start getting interested in this single molecule technique. Up to now, most labs were making their own nanopores, with an overall cost ranging from 300€ to 500€ per nanopore. With our large-scale production process, we are able to deliver nanopores for less than 80€. We also provide technical assistance so that our customers can use nanopore equipment systems on their own. We now have clients across 4 continents. In Europe, Interbio has been a very good gateway. Through the network, I met a number of labs in Valencia, Toulouse and Barcelona. Words of mouth did the rest. The company is now running smoothly, but we do not derive any profit yet: all the money goes to the lab in order to keep developing new technologies.