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SP1 - Prof Sebastien Lecommandoux // Sub Project Leader

Briefly describe your background & experience, and how you came to work on Nanother

I have a strong background in polymer chemistry and physics, especially on the self-assembly of block copolymers. I have especially contributed over the last 10 year in the development of stimuli-responsive nanoparticles, mainly based on polypeptides. I was also interested in organic/inorganic hybrid system co-assembly. During the last 5 years, I have been awarded an IUF (Institut Universitaire de France) chair on a research project about the design of new polymer nanoparticles for life science applications, including drug delivery devices. Nanother approach and aims perfectly fit with my current research interest. It is a tremendous opportunity to join European team leader in their field together with the same objectives.

Tell us a bit about your organisation, the participation of your organisation in Nanother & your personal role in the project

LCPO (Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques) is a public laboratory affiliated to the CNRS, the University of Bordeaux and the Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux (IPB). The “Polymer Nanotechnology for Life Science” group role in Nanother is to design, characterize and select new drug delivery systems adapted to the different targeted drug molecules and biomolecules.

What are your expectations of the project?

My main expectation is to seriously test the best systems that we have in our laboratory since several years. It takes generally a while to have a new idea in mind and to find all the people able to bring a full proof of concept. Here, we designed new polymeric nanosystems for therapy and imaging (theranostics) and have all the complementary competences and partners to test this idea. This is an unbelievable chance!

As SP Leader, what are the most difficult or critical aspects of managing SP partners, and the most fruitful or pleasing aspects?

It is always difficult to make everyone working in the same direction, with the same goal and the same efficacy, especially with people coming with different culture and interest. Science has always to be the only criteria for any decision and is really the critical aspect for managing such a large project.

Are there already some concrete & interesting results for your organisation?

We already have a lot of interesting input and output coming from Nanother. For “nanoparticle designers”, as we are, it is critical to evaluate the toxicity of the newly developed systems. Up to now, all the nanoparticles that we designed passed the critical in vitro and in vivo toxicity assays. We are currently testing our first formulations for tumour regression experiments and are even more excited about the forthcoming results!

IPR issues are essential to large consortia such as NANOTHER, integrating universities, SMEs, research centres & large industrial partners. In what ways do you think that the exploitation seminar helped to clarify the IPR situation for all partners?

Such IPr seminar is indeed very useful for all the partners. However, I would say that the IPR presents nowadays the same importance and is also very strategic for Universities. This aspect has to be also very clear for researchers who are personally evaluated mainly on research publication (that should be not delayed).

What are currently / will be the most promising results in your SP?

I am leading the first SP and the aim is to make a selection of the most promising polymer and hybrid nanoparticles for the entire project. Thanks to tremendous efforts and work done by all the partners, we agreed on strict scientific criteria in order to perform this selection in the best way. We have now 2 or 3 very good candidates that seem very promising for the overall project.

Would you participate in another European project?

Undoubtedly yes! Such kind of project presents a unique opportunity to join together the best research and industrial groups at a European level.

As SP leader, you have been involved in the project since its conception & set-up in 2007 - what is your view on the project & it’s progress today?

Of course, the project evolves since the earlier stage because the scientific knowledge and background is also changing every day. Concerning Nanother, the project is now really efficient and significant progresses are expected in a near future.

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