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CILcare boosts R&D for ear pathologies

Information updated on 17/05/19

CILcare is a world leading provider of R&D services related to hearing disorders. Working for the pharmaceutical industry, biotech and medtech companies, the Montpellier startup has been growing in the American market for the past year.

Celia Belline, présidente de CILcare. © Edouard Hannoteaux

Celia Belline, CEO of CILcare ©Edouard Hannoteaux

CILcare specializes in ear pathologies. The young Montpellier startup carries out R&D on medical drugs and devices to treat hearing loss, tinnitus, and otitis. The innovative company was founded by three former managers from Sanofi: Celia Belline, Marie-Pierre Pasdelou, and Sylvie Cosnier-Pucheu. The first two were R&D project directors; the third was a pharmacology manager. They decided to leave the major international group to create their own business in Montpellier in 2014. Today, CILcare is the only CRO (Contract Research Organization) in the world exclusively positioned to handle hearing disorders, serving the pharmaceutical industry as well as biotech and medtech companies.

We test the efficacy and safety of drugs in the pre-clinical testing phase,” says Celia Belline, CEO of CILcare.  “We also study the toxic effects of drugs on the ear, which is the case for 300 molecules with poorly known side effects.

466 million people around the world suffer from hearing loss, that is, 15% of the population. The WHO predicts that one billion people will be affected by 2050.

The main factors are the aging population, use of ototoxic drugs, exposure to noise – especially young people, and infections (otitis),” explains the CEO.

Biomarkers for tinnitus

CILcare opened a subsidiary and laboratories in Boston (USA) one year ago. They work with American companies such as Draper, which developed a micro-pump to administer drugs to the inner ear. The three researchers are also developing new biomarkers to detect tinnitus and have undertaken a major research program funded notably by the Occitanie regional council, Bpifrance, and the French government.

Having started at the Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), the company is now located at the Agropolis science park with 17 employees and a research team, most of which is specialized in neuroscience and otology.

Company development is well assisted in the Montpellier Métropole area,” adds Celia Belline. “With University of Montpellier, this area benefits from many highly qualified people, which makes it easier to hire high-level staff.

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