Clone of Innovation competition: the winning PSL start-ups and projects 2022


On Monday July 4, 2022, the General Secretariat for Investment, the Ministry for Higher Education and Research, the Directorate General for Enterprise and BPI France named the winners of the innovation competition (i-PhD, i-Lab, & i-Nov). Eleven start-ups and innovation projects emerging from or supported by Université PSL were among the winners.

Funded by the Investments for the Future program (PIA), the i-PhD, i-Lab and I-Nov competitions support innovation projects at various stages of maturity. Among the 2022 winners, eleven start-ups emerging or supported by Université PSL were awarded across the three categories.

Four young researchers among i-PhD winners

Launched in 2019 by the French government in partnership with BPI France, i-PhD is the foundation stone of the competition and is aimed at encouraging PhD students and young doctors to showcase their work with a view to creating Deeptech start-ups. In this third edition of the competition, four of the winners, including two Grand Prizes, are from PSL. The winners will benefit from a year of individual and collective support to explore their research subject from a different perspective.

Samuel Hidalgo, i-PhD 2022 Grand Prize

Samuel Hidalgo leads the MimeCodr project, at the ESPCI Paris - PSL Gulliver Laboratory.

Materials that absorb electro-magnetic rays are crucial to the smooth operation of telecommunications networks and electromagnetic shielding. There are currently no satisfactory industrial solutions for sixth-generation frequencies. The MimeCodr project is developing an innovative technological solution with a view to positioning itself in this strategic market within the next ten years.




Thomas Tiennot, i-PhD 2022 Grand Prize

Thomas Tiennot leads the SonoMind project, from the ESPCI Paris - PSL Physics for Medicine Laboratory, with the support of INSERM Transfert.

Around 30% of patients suffering from severe forms of depression are resistant to medication and require brain stimulation. Such treatment is currently only partially effective and highly invasive.
The SonoMind solution offers a new method for brain stimulation based on the emission of focused ultrasounds. This patented method stimulates the deep brain structures involved in depression and boasts millimetric precision, while being entirely non-invasive. A first prototype has been built and is pending authorization from French health agencies for its use on drug-resistant depression patients.

Reza Kowsari, i-PhD 2022 Winner

Reza Kowsari leads the Synebio project, from the ESPCI Paris – PSL and CNRS Institute for Chemistry Biology Innovation (CBI).

Lifecycle management in the pharmaceutical industry creates value by re-directing existing drugs towards new uses and by improving therapeutic effectiveness. One such strategy is the combination of drugs. However, screening all the possible combinations to discover synergies is an impossible task, because the number of experiments rises too rapidly with the number of drugs. Thanks to our microfluidic device, we will be able to screen millions of pairs of cancer treatment drugs to provide patients with new and effective combinations for enhanced treatment at reduced medical costs.

Alexandre Huu Tam N’Guyen, i-PhD 2022 Winner

Alexandre Huu Tam leads the Eneville project from the Mines Paris – PSL and ARMINES.Systems Energy Efficiency Center (CES).

His project is to create a start-up in the field of energy and digital technology. The aim of Eneville is to support building stock operators in the decarbonization process and to improve energy efficiency. His digital solution enables customers to assess several decarbonization scenarios and to reach the right compromise.




Six i-Lab winning start-ups, including two Grand Prizes

i-Lab, another category of the innovation competition, showcases the results of public research through the creation of innovative enterprises. It provides up to €600K in funding to the best research & development projects. For this latest edition, 6 PSL start-ups received an award, including two Grand Prizes.

WELINQ, winner of the i-Lab Grand Prix

From the ENS - PSL Kastler Brossel Laboratory

CEO: Tom Darras

Quantum calculation is an effective way of processing inherently complex problems which standard supercomputers are unable to resolve, such as the discovery of new molecules. The problem is that quantum processors are limited in size, in other words, in the number of qubits. At present, the largest quantum processors can hold a few hundred qubits at best, which means that a single quantum processor does not represent an adequate advantage for industrial concerns. One strategy to solve this issue consists in interconnecting these quantum processors to raise their computing capacity. Nevertheless, creating links between processors is a highly complex task, and very specific technology must be developed to achieve this ambitious aim.
The Deeptech start-up WeLinQ develops the quantum memories required for the synchronization of signals emitted from various processors so that they can operate in parallel and thus enable quantum computing to deliver its promises. In the laboratory setting, WeLinQ attained the world record for quantum memories by using a form of technology based on laser-cooled atoms. The objective for the start-up is to manufacture its first high-performance quantum memory product, which will be integrated, transportable and ready for roll-out in quantum computing centers, with a view to performing proof-of-concept processor inter-connections with quantum computing providers.


Incubated at PC'up, the ESPCI – PSL Deeptech incubator
CEO: Evan Kervella
Created: 09/2020

“MRI represents one of the greatest breakthroughs in medicine. Yet 90% of the world’s population have little or no access to this technology. Present-day devices are expensive and complex from an operational perspective, because they are based on the use of intense magnetic fields generated by huge supra-conducting magnets. Here at Chipiron, we believe that the only way to make low-field MRI a clinical reality is to envisage a hardware revolution, more specifically in terms of detection system efficiency. By using quantum detectors called SQUID, we are about to achieve such a breakthrough. In building the world’s first ultra-low-field MRI capable of real diagnostic power, our goal is to make MRI as commonplace and simple as a blood test, which will enable the widespread availability and preventive use of medical imaging.”

Emglev Therapeutics

Incubated at Institut Curie

CEO: Christelle Masdeu

The Emglev Therapeutics (EMGLEV) project is based on the use of proprietary technologies which enable the selection of new-generation synthetic anti-bodies for the development of innovative immunotherapies applied to solid tumors and inflammatory or infectious diseases.
The use of anti-bodies in immunotherapy has been revolutionizing therapeutic strategy in the treatment of numerous pathologies, including cancer, for several years now. However, solid tumors, which represent 90% of new diagnoses, remain for the most part resistant to this approach due to limitations in the anti-bodies used (difficulties in penetrating the tumor tissue, immunogenicity, or the size of anti-bodies, etc.).
EMGLEV has set out to develop new-generation synthetic anti-bodies with physico-chemical characteristics which overcome the limitations of standard anti-bodies in order to offer innovative treatment solutions to these patients.
EMGLEV aims to become a leader in innovative immunotherapy for the treatment of solid tumors and other pathologies such as inflammatory and infectious diseases. To this end, EMGLEV is developing a portfolio of in-house programs for the treatment of solid tumors and will form strategic partnership agreements with players in a variety of therapeutic fields.

Saber Bio

From the ESPCI – PSL Institute for Chemistry Biology Innovation (CBI)
CEO: Frederic Dom
Created: 09/2021

SABER BIO uses the power of droplet microfluidics to analyze hundreds of thousands to millions of cells, one by one. Its SCORE BIO module, or Single Cell Omics REvolution for BIOlogy, takes our knowledge of cell functioning to a new height. By combining high-resolution imaging with high-speed sequencing, it provides an unprecedented and unequaled level of information per cell and per thousands of cells. Identifying bio-markers or new therapeutic bio-molecules and stratifying patients will be faster, more reliable and more accurate thanks to SCORE BIO.


From the ESPCI Paris - PSL - Institut Langevin and the Institut de la Vision
Incubated at PC'up, the ESPCI – PSL Deeptech incubator
CEO: Jérôme Martinez
Created: 07/2020

In response to the rise in ocular pathologies linked to an aging population and new lifestyles, and thanks to enhanced knowledge of the numerous mechanisms of ophthalmic disorders, SharpEye has developed a revolutionary eye imaging tool which enables earlier and more accurate diagnosis and thus promises individualized monitoring of patients. Our current project, Cellvision+, aims to finalize the R&D of our prototype.


From the PSL Pépite program
CEO: Sarah Mougharbel
Created: 10/2020

Wyes is a young altruistic and innovative start-up which develops inclusive technologies for disabled persons. Its first solution is a pair of connected glasses which provides people who are fully paralyzed and unable to speak with a means to communicate with loved ones and medical staff, and by extension, to find their place in society.


An i-NOV winner from PSL 

I-Nov supports R&D projects led by start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises, with a view to fostering the emergence of sector leaders with international potential. It provides annual funding of up to €80M in areas such as digital revolution, environmental and energy transition, healthcare and safety, etc. For this new edition of the competition, one award went to a PSL start-up:

Avatar Medical

From the Institut Curie and Institut Pasteur, in association with PariSanté Campus
CEO: Xavier Wartelle
Created: July 2020

AVATAR MEDICAL develops and sells software solutions to Europe and the USA which improve surgical preparation thanks to virtual reality (VR) medical images. Our technology instantly creates interactive 3D representations of patients from standard medical images (MRI or CT-scan). The AVATAR4Medtech project aims to add to AVATAR MEDICAL VR 3D medical imaging with 3 technology bricks, and thus develop an OEM offer for medical technology companies. For example, these bricks will enable x-ray machines to import more accurate virtual reality images of tumor outlines, or help to plan the implantation of medical devices. Several applications are to be tested with customer hospitals. These new capacities offer the company significant prospects for growth (+50% of turnover).