Interview with Pr. Guy Serre

10 Year Anniversary: Interview with Pr. Guy Serre

For our 10th anniversary, we spoke to people who helped Genoskin become what it is today.
Back in March, we had a chat with Pr. Guy Serre, Director of the UDEAR lab (Epidermis Differentiation and Rheumatoid Autoimmunity Unit), the place where Genoskin was born.

Genoskin: Could you describe the relationship between your lab UDEAR and Genoskin?

Guy Serre: The links between UDEAR and Genoskin are numerous and have spanned over the last ten years. The story began with Pascal returning to Toulouse after a postdoctoral fellowship in the US. I welcomed him into my lab, and that is where he started working on the Genoskin project.
Today, most of the skin biology research teams present at UDEAR are now collaborating with Genoskin. The two institutions collaborate so closely that one of our researchers, Nicolas Gaudenzio, has become a consultant at Genoskin. Recently, I was also a member of a Ph.D. thesis jury presented by Emma Raude (Service Manager & Project Leader at Genoskin).

G: How did the story begin with Pascal Descargues?

GS: I first met Pascal upon his return to Toulouse. I welcomed him to the UDEAR lab with the job of R&D Valuation Engineer.
Pascal already had the idea of ​​creating a small biotech company but needed an appropriate structure to develop his project. So, he contacted me, as the UDEAR lab is the only research unit in Toulouse that works on skin biology. As the lab Director, I have been interested in skin biology for all of my career. And the UDEAR laboratory was established years prior as a part of CNRS and Paul Sabatier University.
Pascal knew that he would find with us an environment suitable for the development of his projects.
We jointly submitted a project for an R&D Valuation Engineer to the CNRS. The position was granted and renewed for a second year. During those two years, Pascal developed the first ideas behind Genoskin, taking advantage of the laboratory environment. He then created Genoskin while being hosted by the UDEAR lab. During Genoskin’s first two years, he continued to operate from the UDEAR lab under contract with the CNRS. Pascal quickly hired a couple of people during this period. Two years later, he left us to move to brand new facilities, more suited for the development of his company.

G: And what about today, are you still in touch?

GS: After Genoskin left the UDEAR lab, we kept collaborative links. Several researchers from my team also developed research projects with Genoskin. And three years ago, another postdoc came back from the US, Nicolas Gaudenzio. He was also interested in skin biology and was looking for the perfect laboratory for his projects. History repeated itself seven years later. However, the new researcher did not have the same goals; he wanted to create an academic research team. Very quickly, Nicolas began to develop projects with Pascal. It went so well between them that Nicolas became a consultant for Genoskin.

G: What made you believe in Pascal’s project from the start?

GS: I saw Pascal as a bright young researcher. I knew of his Ph.D. thesis and thought it was already quality work in skin biology led by a good researcher. He also published several qualitative articles during his Ph.D. Then, he did outstanding research during his postdoc, and he spoke in high terms about his plans. It also happens that throughout my career, I have always been involved with R&D valuation. I have worked quite a bit with major cosmetics groups like Pierre Fabre, Chanel and L’Oréal. These projects led to patents and products on the market, so I was sensitive to the company creation project. I wanted to support him in his process because I knew how it would help researchers. And it is also part of the Academic researcher’s mission to support this kind of outbreak.

Genoskin: What do you predict for Genoskin in the future?

GS: Pascal has shown that he has a solid project and the motivation to make it happen. With labs in France and the US and its loyal customer base, things have started very, very well for Genoskin. I believe that the project will continue to develop way beyond what it is now.
Pascal’s idea is original. It may seem relatively simple, but it is with these simple ideas that we can make the most beautiful projects.
Setting up a human skin sourcing network and optimizing skin stabilization to create a quality controlled, repeatable assay usable by scientists in pharmacology was a great idea. This kind of solution did not exist before.
Of course, there were alternatives, but they did not offer the same stability, repeatability, and quality.
Pascal hit the nail on the head, and the current success is showing it. He is also very wise and very determined. I think Genoskin has a bright future.

Thank you to Pr. Guy Serre for taking the time to walk us through Genoskin’s beginnings at the UDEAR lab.

Learn even more about how it all started with testimonials from Guillaume Costecalde and Renaud Nalin, available on our LinkedIn page. Stay tuned for more interviews and behind the scenes to come!

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