American company Abreos Biosciences forms an R&D subsidiary in Marseille

Abreos Biosciences developed a medical device that can optimize the dosages of biopharmaceuticals administered to cancer patients. In September 2016, Bradley Messmer, founder of the California-based biotech, signed a partnership with Institut Paoli Calmettes (IPC) in Marseille. Now, taking the logical next step, the company is creating its French subsidiary in Marseille. This addition to the region, which received support from the region’s economic development entities, including Provence Promotion, will allow patients to try out this new therapeutic technique.

Bradley Messmer, a biologist at the University of San Diego California, developed a prototype that can accurately measure the dosing of biopharmaceuticals in a patient’s blood using a device that is as easy to use as a pregnancy test. A miniature device based on its Veritope technology takes a single drop of blood from the finger.
Its discovery was a happy accident. "Originally, I was trying to design a device that would rapidly detect counterfeit drugs," says Bradley Messmer, who founded Abreos Biosciences in 2013.

Convinced that he would find development opportunities for his device in Europe, he took a closer look at the ties that had formed between the Californian cluster Biocom and the Eurobiomed cluster in southern France. He also took part in the prospecting trips organized by Provence Promotion under the South Bio Alliance*.

A partnership of clinicians and scientists

His 2015 meeting with Dr. Jean-Frédéric Saunière at the Institut Paoli Calmettes in Marseille was decisive, paving the way for a Franco-American collaboration to perfect a new therapeutic approach.

"Jean-Frédéric Saunière gave us the chance to work with his group of scientists and clinicians to accelerate the development of our tests to personalize cancer treatment. Our device works, but now we need to collect data. Tests will be performed for one year on 700 volunteer patients receiving cancer drugs such as Herceptin and Avastin. The testing will occur in two phases. The first phase will focus on measuring the rate of medication given to patients. In the second phase, we will adapt the dosage and frequency of administration," says Bradley Messmer.

"We also want to replicate this device for patients with autoimmune diseases," says Bradley Messmer. To complete the testing, Abreos Biosciences hired an IPC scientist and has just created a French subsidiary, Abreos France.

Personalized medicine

The assistance offered with procedures for obtaining the CE mark, which guarantees that the product complies with European legislation, motivated it to prospect overseas. "Provence Promotion also made us aware of local, national and European tax assistance schemes through the Horizon 2020 program," noted Bradley Messmer. Abreos Biosciences raised €2.5 million from the U.S. federal government and private investors.

Because France, Italy, Spain and Germany are the leading consumers of expensive drugs, Abreos Biosciences believes that these countries may, over time, save money and improve the quality of care by providing treatment specifically adapted to each patient.
"Each dose costs several thousand euros. In a year, the cost of treatment can be around €100,000 – even if it is not really suited to the patient. That is a lot of wasted money. In fact, each patient currently receives a standard dose that may be under- or excessively-dosed. Our device helps give the patient personalized therapy," says Bradley Messmer.
When asked about the environment in Marseille, the scientist can hardly contain his enthusiasm. "This town has all the advantages of San Diego: a cancer-fighting center, a renowned university and several laboratories. As for the Mediterranean climate, it is every bit as wonderful as California," the business owner enthuses.

* a consortium of partners spearheaded by Regional Agency for Innovation and Internationalization of Companies Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur, the Eurobiomed and Mer Méditerranée clusters, the economic development agencies Provence Promotion, Team Côte d’Azur and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Var Economic Development Agency, PACA International Chamber of Commerce and Industry and SATT Sud-Est

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Last modified on 03/11/2016

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