Innovation is our business
Giving academic researchers the tools they need to turn inventions into marketable products.
Business incubator, company builder, startup studio – there are many ways to describe what Quattrocento does. But when we really consider the true nature of our business, we all agree it boils down to one vision: we are innovators in the life sciences. We find high-potential scientific and medical inventions in French research laboratories and turn them into products that fulfill specific needs. We create companies whose growth is driven by usage and then guide them to the marketing phase for products that align with what our users want. Team work is a top priority at Quattrocento, where experts from a wide range of fields synergistically collaborate across the entire value chain required to advance from idea to company and ultimately to sales. A business like ours only works in the right kind of atmosphere, so we built 520 m2 of prototyping workshops, research laboratories, brainstorming spaces, and mobile offices for business developers. In other words, it's a buzzing beehive of activity located right where the academic research happens.
Quattrocento isn't an inventor, it's an innovator!
A flourishing field
Life sciences is a quiet scientific revolution – for now…
First came the digital revolution and now life sciences is experiencing its own transformation with landmark scientific advances that are changing the world as we know it as well as the realm of possibilities. We chose to make this booming sector our testing ground by becoming “ax and shovel” experts, aka specialists in equipment, medical devices and groundbreaking reagents for this burgeoning sector. At its subsidiaries, Quattrocento develops tools backed by cutting-edge technologies being innovated at research labs that provide a glimpse into future applications for more personalized medicine.
- Point‑of‑care in vitro diagnostics
- Cellular and tissue engineering
- Cell imaging
- Diagnosis of bone diseases or digestive diseases
- Tools for Regenerative Medicine and Personalized Medicine
- Cellular tests for oncology, neurobiology and immunology
- Detection of microorganisms in the microbiota, vaccine production, phagotherapy
A growth model
Quattrocento is a manufacturer that designs projects in-house and then expands them as startups.
Our venture begins with a simple fact: French research laboratories are at the leading edge of science and are teeming with inventions that have never been developed. French researchers are masters in their field and full of ideas that they want to become a reality in order to revolutionize current practices. But things get tricky when shifting from theory to practice and invention to marketable product. That’s where Quattrocento comes in. We pinpoint the technology, test its feasibility ourselves, analyze its consumer potential and forecast its industrialization. And when we spot a rising star, we assume the risk of launching the project, investing the capital, creating a subsidiary with a motivated team of experts, and giving it the best chances to grow.
The surefire key to success: Work with researchers and research labs from Day 1
Our experts find the ideas, but the researchers behind those inventions become an integral part of the process. From both a moral and financial perspective, it's only natural they are involved from the minute the subsidiary is created. They personally go on to develop more scientific advances under a collaborative research agreement. It’s a win-win situation. It is mutually beneficial for researchers to continue their academic work in their own laboratories separate from Quattrocento's operational hub. They keep their independence and freedom and we maintain close relations with the labs. It's one way to help spark innovation by supporting inventions.
“Quattrocento is a very unique and intriguing place because it's an entire network of experts, people highly skilled in anything from engineering and IT to marketing and running a company – it lets the researchers be researchers. I originated the invention, so I played a key role in the process by becoming very involved in the technology transfer. Since Alvéole became a standalone company, I’ve been consulting on support and R&D for future products. Quattrocento is a really original model where the teams go above and beyond other teams, for example they took the time to visit the labs, talk with the researchers and learn about interesting things they’re doing. There is also their philosophy about being as close to the science as possible, which is evident at their site where a lot of space is dedicated to labs. That means Quattrocento will be able to host research projects from concept to prototype and take a very integrated approach. That tool will help them to save precious time.”
“We built Elice together. I had the original idea, but was looking for people to help me with things I didn’t know how to do. Quattrocento has an extremely purpose-driven model because it complements the researcher’s skills. We work out problems together, but the team has a very fast way of dealing with things and a keen sense of market opportunities. Quattrocento is also very clear on that point: a new technology is meaningless if doesn’t have a market. They are very trustworthy people. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the way I did it with them.”
“I met the members of Quattrocento in 2010. I had already had a concept for measuring bone quality and was starting the initial studies and application research. A few years later, they suggested working together and offered a collaboration agreement. One of the best things about Quattrocento is they have a lot of experience. They know all the links in the development chain, how to talk to researchers, colleges and administrations, so they always figure out how to match the best people together. They find solutions but, most importantly, they are in it for the long haul. The Quattrocento teams kept encouraging us to stay the course because the biggest risk in these types of projects is that people lose momentum. But Quattrocento is there, the collaboration is genuine, and that’s invaluable. Because let's face it, we've started on a mission to quantify the unquantifiable.”
“I signed a collaboration agreement with Quattrocento for Pickcell and my lab uses technology that comes from another subsidiary called Alvéole. That’s what makes Quattrocento's model compelling. First, they are filling an extremely crucial void in research. It's very hard to make the transition without this kind of initiative, I mean in my case to take something you have in a lab and turn it into a product. Their goal is to create value. In the end, that's what is fascinating – to see how the different subsidiaries are going to increase their value-add tenfold when the technologies are combined. So far, this model is quite rare and mostly works on trust. People know each other really well, it's very human – almost like a family – and the teams genuinely want to work together.”
Subsidiaries that specialize in equipment for the life sciences and medical devices
Teams of experts have developed innovative technologies like cellular microenvironment management tools, electrochemical DNA sequencing, and ultrasound bone fragility screening
Quattrocento creates a subsidiary for each invention it determines has potential for success and forms a full project team around the nucleus of academic researchers. The team members perform functions needed to get the company’s business off the ground: marketing, management, product development and science. We ensure the startups are operating smoothly with a skillful team of experienced managers – some employees played a decisive role in the success of Echosens, which became a top company in noninvasive hepatology diagnostics – and a community-driven network of partners joined by French Tech (BPI). It’s a sort of “smart money” model where capital and skills go hand in hand.
An end-to-end solution for accurate cellular level control of the protein environment in living cells.
The Alvéole teams developed an innovative protein printing technique using photolithography that creates micropatterns on cell culture substrates. They are in effect protein patterns a few microns in size, which means they can control the shape and proliferation of living cells with extreme precision, much like a tailor customizes a suit. This technology is opening new doors in countless fields, such as stem cell research and regenerative medicine, cellular testing to reduce animal experimentation in drug development, and targeted therapies by working directly on a patient's cells. Alvéole is part of an ambition to give researchers cellular microenvironment management tools that help solve specific major public health issues in fields like cancer, immunology, neurobiology and regenerative medicine.
Quality control for beams of charged particles used in hadron therapy.
The subsidiary Thamis produces and markets devices that perform quality control for beams of charged particles used in hadron therapy, a cancer treatment method that uses a beam of charged particles (protons and carbon ions) to destroy inoperable cancer cells that are resistant to radiation. Thamis relies on patented technology that measures particle flow by using a matrix of scintillating plastic fibers connected to a digital camera. The hodoscopes that Thamis makes can measure the beam’s profile and intensity. They provide a high-quality dynamic, are easy to use and require very little maintenance. In 2014, a set of 40 hodoscopes was delivered to the MedAustron hadron therapy center in Austria.
Multipurpose microconsumables for 3D cell culture.
Pickcell is the result of a partnership between Quattrocento, the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI) at the University of Singapore, and the CNRS research team from the international joint laboratory of Singapore. It is working to develop a range of inexpensive multipurpose microconsumables that are easy to use for 3D cell culture. The underlying technology is a biocompatible membrane that can be put on any substrate to create artificial microniches at the cellular level for 3D cell culture. It has the advantage of being a fully customizable tool designed for super-resolution microscopy. It can also be used to devise simple cell tests, for example to triage cancer cells based on malignity. Currently in the prototype and validation stage, future products will address an array of applications that researchers need for studying and imaging living cells.
Helping prevent diseases and treatments that cause bone fragility.
Our subsidiary Azalée develops medical devices that use a patented ultrasound technology to scan the cortical bone and read its structural and mechanical parameters. The proof of concept was validated in an initial pilot test conducted to analyze the fragility of the cortical bone in osteoporosis. A second test is underway to monitor cortical bone treatments in children with bone diseases.
Easy Life Science
Innovative DNA detection devices, consumables and reagents for point-of-care diagnostics.
Elice (a loose acronym for Easy Life Science) uses a patented electrochemical biomolecule (DNA, RNA and proteins) detection technology called DetScan™ to develop an end-to-end solution for DNA detection. Devices, consumables and reagents for conducting all standard detection experiments: PCR, real-time PCR, genotyping, point mutation detection and quantification. Relying on advances in the electronics industry, this technology can help design robust miniature devices that are inexpensive to produce and therefore particularly well suited for developing point-of-care diagnostics solutions.
A team-centric state of mind
Everyone works with Quattrocento for a reason
When you come into our workshop, there are spaces for researchers and employees – but you’ll also notice visiting shareholders who come to lend their expertise. We want to use the same innovation in forming our base of shareholders to bring together synergistic skills that can contribute to the operational aspects as needs are expressed in areas like prototyping, industrial design, computer engineering, marketing strategy, consulting and human resources. There is an unmistakable feeling of entrepreneurial spirit in this casual open space and we want all the companies we create each year to benefit from this exuberant flurry of activity. More than anything, Quattrocento is a state of mind. We're serious about what we do but never take ourselves too seriously.
Co-founder and President
Bertrand Fourquet is an entrepreneur who found a way to combine all his interests. After training in mergers and acquisitions at Lazard in New York and JP Morgan in London, he returned to France and became an entrepreneur. He built a Spanish mass distribution trading company and then opened a subsidiary in Spain for the Distriborg Group. But he was finally seduced by his fascination for science (his current side project is finishing a Master's in physics). In 2001, Bertrand founded an innovative medical materials company called Echosens that became a leading SME in noninvasive hepatology diagnostics. In June 2011 after running this pioneering company for seven years, it became a subsidiary of Chinese pharmaceutical company Furui. With a string of entrepreneurial challenges behind him and a love for science, launching Quattrocento seemed like the next logical step. After creating another startup in 2009 (Elice), he designed the Quattrocento model in 2010 – the first of its kind in France – with a goal to merge science and industry by starting innovative companies that change the game on their own terms.
Co-founder and COO
Luc Talini is one of those born entrepreneurs. Right after earning his PhD in physics, this engineer started his own science expertise and consulting firm for SMEs. He then joined the neurobiology lab at ESPCI to promote its DNA microarray unit. Since scientific invention is only a step away from business creation, he founded biotech firm GeneScore that specialized in designing and producing DNA microarrays. He ran the company until June 2005, and then ventured out in many areas starting with program director for CEDIB (a project to build a bioengineering innovation center), then project manager at Paris Diderot University’s promotions office, and finally as director of technological development at Echosens. In 2010, he and Bertrand Fourquet founded Quattrocento and has served as its COO ever since.
Technical and Quality Director
David is a physics engineer who spent two years in optical instrumentation development before joining Echosens in 2003 to manage industrialization and production for Fibroscan, a medical device that had just been put on the market. As an ace problem-solver, he immediately set out to expand his areas of expertise. Initially put in charge of managing EC labeling and the quality process that was ISO 13485 certified in 2005, he then went on to direct the after-sales service department. His time there made him a seasoned expert in issues dealing with quality assurance-based industrial transfer. In 2011, he joined the Quattrocento team as Technical and Quality Director to coordinate industrial development for projects across all the subsidiaries.
Project Director and Technology & Business Analyst
Mathieu is a physics engineer with degrees from Ecole Polytechnique and ENSTA ParisTech. He earned a PhD from the Thales Research Center in the cross-disciplinary unit founded by 2007 Nobel Laureate in Physics Albert Fert. His time as a PhD student was pivotal because not only did he win the Gold Medal Graduate Student Award from the American Materials Research Society, but this was also when he began promoting the lab's research work by filing several patents in a range of application areas. While doing his dissertation, his immediate fascination for innovation and industrialization gave him a chance to consult in R&D strategy and innovation for the Areva Group. At the same time, he occasionally did projects to increase visibility for research projects being conducted by groundbreaking startups. Aligning with the entrepreneurial spirit of these companies, in 2016 he joined Quattrocento to do upstream assessments for technology projects and develop datamining tools for the subsidiaries. Nothing can hold him back when it comes to showcasing the dots to connect between research, industry and the marketplace in the exciting world of life sciences and medical diagnostics.
Administration and Finance Manager
After graduating from IPAG Business School, Florent went on to do an Master's degree in management control at EDHEC Business School. He started his career filling various roles at Alstom: management controller in the Transport Division followed by a position as controller for developing railway signaling products. He then went on to work as corporate controller at the group's headquarters. Wanting to pursue his affinity for R&D, he joined Vallourec where he expanded consolidation and analysis of group R&D costs. With a strong interest in innovation-driven companies and searching for a human-sized company offering fresh challenges advancing a future he could help shape, Florent joined Quattrocento as administration and finance manager in 2016. He is a key player in the subsidiaries and uses his interpersonal skills to approach every project with great cross-disciplinary expertise.
Entrepreneurial spirit meets a true craftsman