Situation & problem
Cancer continues to be an extremely worrying scourge. According to the WHO, 181 million new cases of cancer were reported worldwide in 2018. The Fondation Registre du Cancer Belge indicates that 68,702 new cancer cases were registered in Belgium in 2017, and that one man in three and one woman in four will suffer from the affliction before reaching the age of 75.
Decades of relentless efforts in Research and Development are bearing fruit. New treatments see the light of day, bringing hope to certain cancer patients for whom only a few years ago, chances of survival were slim. Such victories are bearers of hope. But much remains to be done – early diagnosis, identification of the responding patient to the most suitable treatments, analysis or imagery using Artificial Intelligence imagery, etc.
Although many promising innovations are discovered, to date only very few of them have made it into the clinic. Researchers often get lost in translation because they lack both the technical expertise and the funding appropriate incentives to move their discoveries forward.
Solution & approach
Fournier-Majoie Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to recognize and support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial researchers who are willing to develop solutions to significantly benefit cancer patients. Since 2007, Fournier-Majoie Foundation has focused its support on guiding entrepreneurial researchers and paving the way to clinical development meeting cancer patient’s needs. Our goal is to shorten the time from bench to bedside.
The Foundation is surging ahead by making available, to patients who suffer and to the medical teams that treat them, significant advances in the areas of detection, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of the disease. Our Mission takes the form of operational and financial support to the Researchers who have become entrepreneurs with the objective being to get their novel solutions into the market. All requests that we receive are systematically evaluated and followed up with recommendations, even if the project is not retained for support, because it is vital to help the whole sector to move forward.
Since the Foundation’s creation in 2007, more than 200 dossiers have been evaluated and 17 of these have been accepted for a financial support of 8 Mio €.
Since the inception, the impact of the Foundation to the 17 laureates can be measured by the submission of 20 patents, the publication of 57 specialist articles in reputed scientific journals, the presentation of 45 scientific posters during international conferences and the creation of 41 new jobs in academic research teams or in start-ups.
The Fournier-Majoie Foundation’s team actively manages its portfolio of projects, using its expertise to share insights, provide assistance and connect awardees with relevant experts when appropriate and also to foster collaboration. By using its technical and business expertise as well as its network, it guides its grant holders and prevents them from making major mistakes.
Venture philanthropy approach.
The venture philanthropy model is key for Fournier-Majoie Foundation to give both valorization optimization and financial impact. First, Fournier-Majoie Foundation activity includes not only funding but also the necessary follow-up and support to achieve results, de-risk its investment and respond to medical needs.
To promote its ‘entrepreneurial’ approach, the Foundation applies the model of “Venture Philanthropy” unique in the sector and a guarantee of the Foundation’s long-term sustainability.
The concept is implemented by a “Return on Missions”: when a project starts to earn revenue, a proportion is returned to the FFMI and is used to finance future projects. This is what we call the “Virtuous Circle”. Just as the FFMI was founded on sharing the fruits of a long career – that of Dr. Bernard Majoie – those “laureates” become in their turn the “helpers”, so that the Foundation can continue and extend its mission on the basis of Article 14 of the Foundation’s statutes – Code of Practice and Ethics.
Over the years, the Foundation has improved its project analysis process (establishing and revising all the various scientific, strategic, human and operational criteria) and has structured the assistance provided to laureates so that they may better succeed in their development through being able to offer innovative products or services. The Foundation does not limit itself to granting scholarships. It also offers simple or convertible loans, or enters into the capital of innovative start-ups, which it supports during their financial seeding phase. In such cases, the Foundation has a place on the company’s Board of Directors, taken by the Foundation’s General Manager, who takes part in all the key decisions.
In 2019, the Foundation joined the Belgian Federation of Philanthropic Foundations, which brings together all those local organizations with the same management principles and whose aim is to defend and promote philanthropy