CENTRE OF REFERENCE, INNOVATION, EXPERTISE AND TRANSFER (CREFIX)
The Centre of Reference, Innovation, eXpertise and transfer (CRefIX) constitutes a key element in French genomics research.
As a centre of reference and expertise at national level, it prepares for future evolution and technological innovations, develops procedures and harmonises protocols and methods, to ensure their deployment and implementation.
Innovation projects will be implemented through public-private partnerships in the context of the creation of a new associated sector. The deployment and integration of new practices will be accompanied by specific training modules in conjunction with the necessary regulatory and ethical developments.
Strategic R&D centre, drawing on the best expertise at the CEA, Inria, Inserm and the industrial world, ensures maximised deployment in the short-, medium- and long-term.
CRefIX has a two-fold mission:
1) to establish benchmarks and standards to implement at diagnostic production sites: pilot research projects, genomic sequencing platforms, data collector analyser.
2) to innovate and accelerate transfers in cooperation with industrial stakeholders, to ensure the plan’s competitiveness and to develop a national industrial sector.
CRefIX contributes to the development and the integration of innovations in the key milestones of genomic medicine, from sampling (blood, tissue), preparation of biological samples and genome sequencing, to bioinformatics analysis and interpretation of data.
Contribution to Pilot projects
CRefIX participates in close collaboration with the National Centre of Human Genomics Research (CNRGH) in the definition of pilot projects in the French Plan for Genomic Medicine 2025:
- MULTIPLI (soft-tissue sarcoma),
- DEFIDIAG (intellectual deficiency)
- GLUCOGEN (atypical diabetes)
- POPGEN (general population)
The CNRGH will perform the sequences and initial bioinformatic analysis of these projects.
CRefIX creates collaborations with all the stakeholders involved: industrial partners, academic experts and European or international genomic plans. It also contributes to the creation of a dedicated industrial sector.
In this context, CRefIX is supported by public-private partnerships to:
- develop innovation projects and/or remove major barriers,
- accelerate the transfer of knowledge and technologies.
Examples of initiatives:
- Industrial partners’ hearing days
Hearing days are regularly organised to enable voluntary industrial partners to present their portfolio of products or services as well as their ongoing developments.
They can also:
1) stand as a candidate for the establishment of innovation partnerships,
2) discuss their strategic position towards the plan and obtain advice,
3) receive regular communications on the issues of the plan towards industry.
- Support for public-private partnerships and consortia dealing with innovative topics
In view of the state of the art and the innovation opportunities of the future industrial players in the sector, CRefIX proposes subjects on which a public-private partnership would enable the development of innovations to the governance of the French Plan for Genomic Medicine 2025.
CRefIX identifies potential industrial partners, either by launching a call for expression of interest, or by directly contacting the industrial partners identified through its monitoring work.
It organises discussions to set up consortia to submit innovative projects to portals like “PIAVE”.
- Development of innovation projects
CRefIX may also develop innovation projects alone or in collaboration with academic groups, to test recent technological developments or to propose technological alternatives.
CENTRE OF REFERENCE AND EXPERTISE MISSIONS
Overall, CRefIX has the role of expert at the level of the plan and may answer all the questions raised by the plan, either straightaway or after a period of analysis.
CRefIX will ensure a technological watch, in particular at the level of the platform network and the DCA.
Expertise and technological watch
To recommend processes, protocols and methods to deploy in the sequencing platforms and the DCA, CRefIX will operate a reference platform.
It will enable it to:
- identify obstacles,
- identify technological barriers,
- test solutions,
- ensure technological developments necessary at all the relevant levels of the care chain. (1)
By relying on its staff (CEA, Inria, Inserm) and more extensively on a network of academic experts, CRefIX maintains a fundamental and academic knowledge watch in relation to the French Plan for Genomic Medicine 2025.
Procedures and standardised processes
CRefIX recommends “the setting up and standardisation of processes and protocols which will be deployed within the network of platforms and the DCA.” (1)
CRefIX transmits recommendations to the pre-indications working group for the selection of the first patients to be included in the genomic medicine pathway. Considering the state of the art, it indicates to the working group the characteristics that the biological samples intended for the genome sequencing platforms of the French Plan for Genomic Medicine 2025 must respect (blood, tissue), in order to validate the quality of diagnostic tests. To take into account technical developments and knowledge, CRefIX updates its recommendations on a regular basis.
STRUCTURE AND GOVERNANCE
CRefIX is a Mixed Research Unit (US39 created early 2019) between the CEA, Inria, and Inserm. It is led by Jean-François Deleuze, Ph.D, Authorised to Direct Research (director) and Alain Viari, PhD (deputy director) with a Project Manager, Violette Turon, PhD and an assistant Christine Michel.
The activities of CRefIX are mainly located in Evry, in the premises of the National Centre of Human Genomics Research (CNRGH) and Genopole.
The R&D projects aiming to remove the technological barriers identified by CRefIX will be mostly conducted within public-private consortia. These projects will be financed through a “one-stop shop” like PSPC.
Decisions concerning the internal workings of the UMS (means, personnel, intellectual property…) are taken within a trustee committee made up of two representatives per trustee (CEA, Inria, Inserm) set up at the creation of the UMS.
The strategic decisions concerning CRefIX are validated during operational committees (COMOP), monitoring committees or interministerial committees of the French Plan for Genomic Medicine 2025.
WHERE ARE WE?
CRefiX is a joint services unit made up of Inserm, CEA and Inria. Jean-François Deleuze (National Genotyping Centre at the CEA) is its director. Alain Viari (Inria) is the deputy director.
In collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Centre (CNRGH), CRefIX is in charge of the sequencing and primary bioinformatics analysis of these projects.