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OPTOBOTS, Winner of Bpifrance’s I-Lab Innovation Grand Prize

Category: Award Research

Improving laboratory techniques for IVF with next-generation technologies

The Optobots project, resulting from the research conducted by Sinan Haliyo, a lecturer at Sorbonne University and researcher at ISIR, and Edison Gerena, a postdoctoral fellow at ISIR, both co-founders of the startup, offers an innovative medical device for gamete manipulation in in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The ambition of this technological advancement is to optimise IVF treatment by improving its cost-effectiveness and significantly increasing the chances of success, thanks to robotic techniques.

Optobots was awarded i-Lab Grand Prize winner of the 25th Bpifrance Innovation Competition. The award was presented on Tuesday July 4, 2023, at the official  ceremony at the “Théâtre du Châtelet”. The i-Lab competition supports the creation of innovative companies based on the transfer of technologies derived from public research.

Increasing the success rate and standardising IVF processes with robotic technologies

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes infertility as a public health problem, affecting around 15% of couples of childbearing age. In-vitro fertilization is the main treatment offered for infertility. In France, 1 birth in 30 is conceived using this technique. Despite recent progress, less than 10% of embryos fertilized in-vitro are successfully implanted, and success rates vary considerably from one laboratory to another. This is largely due to the manual nature of the procedures. Furthermore, the instruments used have seen very little evolution over the past thirty years. As a result, the success of the procedure is highly dependent on the skill and dexterity of the operators.

Optobots proposes to improve IVF laboratory process with innovative, patented robotic technologies to automate and assist operators. The developed technology is the fruit of over 10 years of robotics research into the manipulation of biological samples at ISIR, and a recent partnership with the MAP center of Hôpital Tenon, Pr. Rachel Levy and Dr. Charlotte Dupont, co-founders. The envisioned device will optimize process steps and operator time, reduce variability of results, and increase the success rate and efficiency of IVF centers for the benefit of patients. 

The startup’s ambition is to drive a transition in the field of assisted reproductive technology from its current artisanal state to the era of Industry 4.0, aiming to standardize processes and increase the success rate of IVF.

The project is supported by Sorbonne Université, AP-HP, SATT Lutech, CNRS Innovation, and Ile-de-France DIM ELICIT.

Scientific contact: Edison Gerena, postdoctoral researcher in biomedical engineering at ISIR

Link to the Optobots project LinkedIn page