A look back at the inauguration of NMR’s IRICE platform for businesses

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On January 18, 2021, IRICE, an NMR platform of excellence for innovation in chemistry and health, was inaugurated.

On January 18, 2021, IRICE - an RMN platform of excellence for innovation in chemistry and health - was inaugurated in the presence of Pierre Berat (chairman of the ESRI commission of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region), Antoine Petit (president and CEO of the CNRS) Jean-François Pinton (president of ENS de Lyon) and Frédéric Fleury (president of the University). Also present were Guido Pintacuda (Director of the CRMN) and Anne Lesage (Deputy Director of the CRMN).

Le Centre de RMN à très hauts champs de Lyon lance une plateforme de RMN dédiée aux entreprises avec @auvergnerhalpes et @EU_Commission. Un panel d’instruments unique au monde est à découvrir lors du lancement en ligne, le 18/01 à 11h. Info&inscription: https://t.co/vqbmN7UTTP - pic.twitter.com/RtnueCErHn

- CNRS Rhône Auvergne (@CNRS_dr07) January 12, 2021

With the IRICE platform, the NMR Center provides two-fold assistance: administrative and scientific.

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Frédéric Fleury initiated the inauguration speech by recalling that the establishments in Lyon are located in a territory that has a long industrial history. These establishments have grown in connection with business. He added that Lyon’s ecosystem is rich and flourishing because all major stakeholders are present.

Jean-François Pinton then stressed the importance of collective investment efforts that enable the creation of interor multi-disciplinary pools necessary for the development of research. He recalled that state-of-the-art instrumentation is most often the result of basic research that then shifts from laboratories to companies. This is the case today for the NMR Center thanks to the IRICE platform.

Antoine Petit also recalled that one of the CNRS’ strategies was to put basic research back at the heart of society. Partnerships with companies give manufacturers a competitive advantage over the world. Therefore, this inauguration is the result of a long strategic and visionary work that he has named, with a sprinkling of humor, "the scientific arms race".

Finally, Pierre Berat concluded the opening speech by adding that support for public research and business innovation is a key regional strategy tool, in line with Europe’s priorities. That is why IRICE has received very strong support from the Region as well as from Europe.

The morning continued with a presentation of examples of collaborations and fields of application.

Indeed, applications in the fields of Chemistry, Material Science, Biology, and Health are numerous, for example in the context of:

  • Molecule screening on GPCR, the largest family of therapeutic targets (1/3 of drugs)
  • Structural biology of new targets
  • Quality control of medicines through the analysis of their polymorphs
  • Understanding vaccine effectiveness by testing antigen and adjuvant interfaces
  • Improved effectiveness in the cells of antisense drugs for cancer
  • Rapid identification of metabolic markers and new horizons in medicine and public health
  • Understanding the composition of complex mixtures with 10,000 times more sensitivity
  • Creating new MRI contrast agents
  • Understanding structure-function properties for more efficient batteries
  • Understanding the effect of additives that slow the hydration of cements
  • Understanding complex adhesive structures, coatings, sealants and elastomers
  • Characterization of the atomic structure of zeolites, key supports in petrochemicals

Currently, the NMR Center is working with multiple companies: Calixar, AstraZeneca, Sanofi Pasteur, Bruker Bispin, Halliburton, IFPen as well as the Lyon East Faculty of Medicine and the Hospices Civiles de Lyon.

The CRMN - NMR Center is an international research laboratory that brings together about 40 scientists of different nationalities in Chemistry, Physics and Biology. It houses a unique instrumentation platform open to academic and industrial communities at a regional, national and international level. The entire instrumentation of the center represents an investment of over ¤25 million. 

Using the magnetic properties of the nuclei of atoms, NMR enables the observation of matter at the scale of the atom in a qualitative, quantitative, real-time way, without damaging the structure of the object studied. The CRMN - NMR Center has 7 spectrometers with very high fields, from 400 MHz to 1 GHz. Compared to standard NMR spectroscopy, they provide a very significant gain in resolution and sensitivity. In addition, hyperpolarization instruments mean that the measured signals will be greatly amplified and the recent acquisition of a dozen latest-generation equipment opens up new possibilities. 

The CRMN also has 5 laboratories for the preparation and enrichment of chemical and biological samples, 2 workshops for the development of prototype instruments and 2 sample changers to automatically and subsequently analyze a large number of samples. The combination of this unique state-of-the-art instrumentation platform with the laboratory’s varied and recognized expertise - in the development of NMR Center methodologies and instruments, analysis and modelling of 3D spectrums and structure calculations - creates many opportunities to respond to academic and industrial issues and provide proof of concept. 


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