EY Contractor Award. With marine worms, Hemarina revolutionizes medicine

They can preserve the organs, allow to transfuse blood more easily on a field of battle ... the discovery of Franck Zal on the lugworms, marine worms, is vertiginous. He keeps his feet on the ground after eleven years in Morlaix (Finistère). He is a candidate with his company Hemarina at the EY West Entrepreneur Award 2018, whose prize list will be unveiled on September 25 in Nantes.


They can preserve the organs, allow to transfuse blood more easily on a field of battle ... the discovery of Franck Zal on the lugworms, marine worms, is vertiginous. He keeps his feet on the ground after eleven years in Morlaix (Finistère). He is a candidate with his company Hemarina at the EY West Entrepreneur Award 2018, whose prize list will be unveiled on September 25 in Nantes.

Franck Zal is one of those people who asks questions about everything around him. At the beach, he observes the marine worms nestled in the sand. "I wondered how they were breathing, since they live both in the sand and in the water. I was thought to be crazy, " he smiled.

In 2000, he discovered that the animal, also called lugworm or buzuk in Breton, has a blood different from ours. It is able to store oxygen much longer. "He breathes at high tide and lives apnea at low tide, or for 6 hours," sums up the researcher. With this discovery, we revolutionize whole areas of medicine! "

He leaves his position as a researcher at the CNRS where he has been working for fifteen years and founded Hemarina, a marine biotechnology company, in Morlaix (Finistère), in 2007. "The elected representatives of Morlaix community have trusted me," he says. he. So I want to stay here. At first, I was alone in a small office, in a business incubator. "

Franck Zal establishes Hemarina, a marine biotechnology company, in Morlaix (Finistère), in 2007. | West France

A company that is growing

Today, Hemarina is about 40 employees, a breeding farm that produces 30 tons of worms in Noirmoutier and future premises of 4 000 m² that will settle near the airport. Business leader, accountant, ... the researcher was formed as and when to especially "keep control of [his] capital."

With sixty patents filed worldwide, the discovery of Frank Zal is currently available in three ways. The first, Hemoxy carrier, allows the extraction of blood from the worm and lyophilize it. Becoming powder, the blood can be stored for five years at room temperature (instead of 42 days at 4 ° C). "That means we can carry large volumes of blood and therefore transfuse more easily on an accident, a battlefield," says the company manager. The US Navy has already shown interest.

Find the file EY contractor's price

Second declination: transplantation with Hemo2life. By injecting this blood into an organ ready to be transplanted, the organ remains viable longer (seven days instead of 40 hours normally). "Sixty-one people were transplanted with lugworm blood, including one for a facial transplant. All organs were functional and there was no rejection, " says the researcher.

"Sixty-one people were transplanted with lugworm blood, including one for a facial transplant. All the organs were functional and there was no rejection, "says the researcher | West France

Clinical tests

Last major development, healing with Hemhealing. With bandages soaked in a gel containing the lymphatic blood molecules, the healing rate is multiplied by ten.

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Today, Hemo2life is waiting to obtain CE marking for commercialization by 2019. Clinical trials are still ongoing for the other two variations. Franck Zal also took precautions in listing his product with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The researcher would like to set up a pharmaceutical company and, if things go well, create a medical foundation because, he is convinced: "We must all bring something to humanity. "

REF: https://www.ouest-france.fr/economie/entreprises/ey/prix-de-l-entrepreneur-ey-avec-les-vers-marins-hemarina-revolutionne-la-medecine-5885434