RLE Events

From Stars to Cells: the entrepreneurial adventure of making Optical Biopsy a reality

Mon, Nov 18, 2013, 4pm / 36-428

Sacha Loiseau, PhD
President, CEO, Co-Founder

From Pasadena to Paris, from astrophysicist to entrepreneur, from a concept to a medical standard of care, the technology and entrepreneurial story behind endomicroscopy and turning Optical Biopsy from a dream to a commercial reality that is benefiting patient-care worldwide. Based on a unique combination of fiber optics, electronics and cutting-edge imaging processing Mauna Kea Technologies produced the first probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy system called Cellvizio. This technology provides physicians with dynamic in-situ microscopic images of tissue in areas which were previously impossible to visualize. At 0.84 mm in diameter, holding 10,000 fiber optics, our miniprobes can fit through endoscopes, catheters and even a 1 mm (19 gauge) needle and provide histo-pathologic information inside pancreatic cysts, the bile and pancreatic ducts or larger organs such as the colon, the esophagus, the stomach but also the lungs and the bladder. Our system is currently used by nearly 350 facilities around the world and has generated more than 450 scientific papers. In an era marked by growing interest in facilitating the transfer of scientific discoveries into products Cellvizio serves as a great example of the impact on patient’s lives that such a transfer could enable.

Sacha founded Mauna Kea Technologies in May 2000 and has been the CEO ever since. He piloted the development of the Cellvizio product line and brought together a world-class executive team to raise over 32 million euro with investors specialized in the health industry. In July 2011, he successfully led the company to an initial public offering on the NYSE Euronext Paris index and raised 56.5 million euro to fund a large-scale commercial development. Sacha started his career at the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) in Toulouse and at the Paris Observatory, then joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, as a research scientist. Sacha is a graduate of the École Polytechnique in Paris and has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and Optical Instrumentation.