Neuroservice blog is launched!
By Bruno Buisson, PhD, Founder, General Manager & Chief Scientist at Neuroservice.
It is a great pleasure and honor to release the first article of the Neuroservice Blog: a forum for scientists or experts who want to share information about hot topics in neurobiology, electrophysiology, drug discovery, CRO… al around the world! The timing of this release is very opportune since it will correspond with the 10th anniversary of the Neuroservice “project”. For me this is an opportunity to recall how Neuroservice was born and how it very quickly became a successful company – a unique mix of a scientific and a business story.
Of course the profile of Neuroservice is intimately linked with my own history and experience, both in terms of fundamental and applied research.
Trained as a biochemist at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, I was irreversibly attracted to the neurosciences. Philippe Ascher kindly introduced me to the laboratory of Joel Bockaert at the CNRS in Montpellier where I had the pleasure of performing my first lab research with Jean-Philippe Pin, and then a subsequent tenure in the laboratory of Christopher Henderson, freshly arrived from Jen-Pierre Changeux’s lab. Because of the French Military Service I then moved abroad… and learned the patch-clamp technique in the laboratory of Marcel-Daniel Payet in Canada at the University of Sherbrooke.
Thereafter I started a long post-doctoral experience in the laboratory of Daniel Bertrand at the Faculty of Medicine in Geneva, Switzerland. There I had the unique opportunity of receiving a personalized course in molecular pharmacology as well as a course on the principles of allosteric modulation right “at the bench”, while investigating the properties of nicotinic receptors. At that time I developed exceptional skill in patch-clamp recording in whole cell and single channel configurations as well as in the use of fast agonist application systems. Daniel also introduced me to the MEA recording system. This period culminated with the first description of the physiological and pharmacological properties of human α4β2 nicotinic receptors and the mechanism of their modulation by nicotine. The “door”, leading to an understanding of the addictive effect of nicotine at the molecular level was finally open.
After 7 years of intense post-doc experience, I move to a young biotech company called “Trophos”, founded by Christopher Henderson, Olivier Pourquie, Jean-Louis Kraus, Michel Delaage, and Antoine Beret, and based in Marseille. Along with many talented collaborators we faced the challenges of launching neuronal culture-based screening platforms and succeeded in the development of the first approved drug for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Olesoxime). At that time the outsourcing of studies to academic laboratories and to CROs was a main part of my activities. In 2003, Esther-Marie Steidl joined me for a period of training during which she successfully investigated lead compounds with a MEA system. Since I understood the strength of functional pharmacology I looked to CROs to provide extensive electrophysiologically-based assays… But was unable to identify one… and then came the idea to create Neuroservice
Among the features that I wanted for this unique company – the highest quality data, the capacity to listen in a collaborative setting, to provide customers with complete satisfaction – these were my first wishes. Working on the business plan of Neuroservice with Olivier Lubrano in the summer of 2005, he introduced to me Olivier Toury because of his background in Business Development. Olivier was instantly enthusiastic about the project. With the blessing of Yehezekel Ben-Ari and Daniel Bertrand the company was launched at the end of March 2006 with Esther-Marie Steidl, Olivier Lubrano and Olivier Toury. For its first 2 years, Neuroservice was housed at the INMED on the campus of Luminy, now part of Aix-Marseille University. Since 2009 Neuroservice has been based in Aix-en-Provence, close to many major travel connections. And by the end of 2017, the company will move to its new facility located in a beautiful campaign north of Aix- en-Provence and will be comprised of roughly 50 collaborators.