Clinatec is the shortest route from a researcher’s brilliant idea to routine administration in hospital. A site, ideas, technologies, all dedicated to inventing the medicine of tomorrow.

The year 2006 saw the meeting of two great minds, Jean Therme, an esteemed engineer, and Professor Alim-Louis Benabid, a world-famous neurosurgeon who, in conjunction with Professor Pierre Pollack, invented deep brain stimulation, a revolutionary treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The second is at the head of technological research at CEA. He encouraged relationships between the world of industry and that of research, thus bringing the Grenoble site to expert level in electronics, micro- and nanotechnology. Both eminent specialists were fully convinced that, by bringing these two fields together, millions of lives could be transformed, namely, the lives of those patients who are deprived from adequate care because medicine is unable to break the therapeutic deadlock they find themselves in.
The first beneficiaries of the Clinatec set-up will be the patients presenting with quadriplegia, neurodegenerative diseases and poor-prognosis cancer.


Clinatec was never intended to be yet another neuroscience centre. It was designed to encourage the creation of innovative biomedical devices, all the way through from their conception to their application to patients. No other site brings together researchers working in such different fields: medical doctors, mathematicians, robotics engineers… Last but not least, the site boasts a small hospitalization unit.

Professor Alim-Louis Benabid neurosurgeon, founder of Clinatec – The Edmond J. Safra Biomedical Research Center
Portrait du Directeur de la Recherche Technologique du CEA

Ours is a highly ambitious and pioneering adventure: get clinicians to work hand in hand with experts in advanced technologies in order to discover new therapeutic solutions for deficits which, until now, we have not been truly able to treat. We believe that bringing together all these scientific disciplines in this unique set up is the best way to speed up creativity and innovation processes to the best advantage of patients.

Jean Therme, Director of technological research at CEA

Ethics are at the heart of the project.

For Clinatec, rather than being just a word, “ethics” is a process.

A patient-focused project. The main criterion for success of all these teams lies in seeing their creations applied in hospitals, for the benefit of millions of patients who are quadriplegic or suffer from neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. Because patient safety is a definite priority for us, our premises include a small hospital, equipped with cutting-edge equipment and supervised by experts.

Benefiting a majority of patients is a basic principle for Clinatec. Because making new therapies available to millions lies at the very heart of Clinatec’s concerns and organisation, scaling up is an essential target.

Improved diagnostics and better targeted treatments

Clinatec places patients at the heart of an innovative and multidisciplinary project which promotes less invasive and better targeted medicine, intended to benefit the greater number.

The unique specificity of Clinatec is that it offers a technological platform where breakthrough technical devices are designed as well as a hospital endowed with state-of-the-art equipment. A specificity which brings a multifaceted team to the patient’s bedside, and that includes robotics engineers, mathematicians, physicists, electronics engineers, computer scientists, biologists, neurologists, surgeons and nursing staff. This unique set up aims to speed up the transfer of innovations from lab. to patient. It enables a prompt and relevant assessment of new systems, with clinical trials conducted under safer conditions. The project involves the Grenoble teaching hospital (CHU), a partner committed to clinical research. Our partnerships with industry should, at term, allow the rapid development of therapeutic solutions on a large scale.

Clinatec have reinvented the clinical approach by developing biomedical tools which encourage the emergence of new medical practices. Less invasive, they make diagnosis in the most fragile parts of the human body easier, notably in the brain. For instance, Clinatec has developed a tissue imprinting method. No tissue is harvested, but everything doctors might require for their diagnosis is made available, thus enabling them to choose the most adapted treatment. This access to specific areas also enables the delivery of just the right drug dosage to just the right spot, or its replacement by a reliable and tested technical tool, thus limiting treatment side-effects.