“An award that proves that our project is sound”

The surgical simulator start-up Biomodex is one of the three winners of the 2016 EDF Pulse Awards. And it's given an extra boost to this young company, founded in August 2014 by Sidarth Radjou and Thomas Marchand, which now has a total of around twenty employees at its Paris headquarters, where R&D takes place, and its commercial office in Boston, USA. What is Biomodex's ambition? Thomas Marchand : We develop synthetic organs that surgeons can use to practise by simulating surgery. Using medical imaging from a given patient, we can print an exact copy of the organ to be treated, with the same properties of shape and elasticity – meaning that the surgeon can repeat the operation. We are also involved in training, offering them highly realistic training conditions. In this respect, we offer an alternative to the use of human bodies that have been bequeathed to medicine or of animals, as well as an alternative to surgery mentoring (when a 'junior' surgeon is assisted by a senior surgeon during real operations – Ed.). In addition, we offer custom-made parts, which are useful for pre-operation training prior to delicate operations. What advantages does using 3D simulations of bodies bring? There are many issues at stake. Of course, there's the ethical issue, but there's also the question of logistics, as we produce plastic items that are easy to store, unlike anatomical parts from cadavers, which require a complicated process to preserve the body. Another advantage is that we can choose the illness or problem the surgeon wants to practise. For example, we can reproduce a specific arm or leg fracture when a teacher wants to give a particular lesson. Finally, 3D simulation of bodies is not only an alternative, but it is often the only method of training, particularly for paediatric illnesses, whether congenital or not. This is because the law does not allow minors to donate their bodies to medical science. What technical difficulties do you still have to overcome? Moving from medical imaging to 3D printing means that we need to integrate the biomechanical qualities of the tissue – elasticity, hardness, softness, etc. That's where the main difficulty to be worked on lies. After winning the 2016 EDF Pulse Awards, what does the future have in store for you? We're delighted to receive support from two very major groups. From the beginning, we were supported by Dassault Systèmes, and benefited from its expertise in software and 3D technology. Now it's EDF's turn to support us. It proves that our project is sound. And now that we've won the EDF Pulse Award after an in-depth selection process and the public vote, it shows that our innovation really speaks to a lot of people. During the selection process, we also benefited from coaching and training seminars with the EDF Pulse Agency, which worked to teach us how to showcase our project and to spread the word to a very wide audience. It was also an opportunity to meet a range of other start-ups, whether they were competitors or not. And now, thanks to this award, we're hoping to enjoy exceptional communication reach and to be introduced to a top-level ecosystem. What are the next steps in Biomodex's development? We're getting ready to strengthen our business across the world, more specifically in the United States. We already have a presence in France, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Australia, and Japan. After initial fundraising of €3.2 million in April, we are planning a second round of fundraising in September 2017 to continue our development in the United States, which accounts for over half of the global health sector. To go further Biomodex: simulation precedes operation, thanks to 3D printingAnd the three winners of the third EDF Pulse Awards are...