AMAbiotics SAS is a company developing research. While this
brief statement is self-explanatory it may be useful to outline
The "general public", to which by definition we belong,
is motivated by two general forces: on the one hand by curiosity
— man is driven by an insatiable curiosity as celebrated by
Rudyard Kipling — and on the other hand, by his quest for well-being.
There is no contradiction here: curiosity nourishes
the part of dream which occupies our minds, and it allows us
to make the discoveries that contribute to our well-being.
The deepest misunderstandings about research that plague
most human societies derive from the mistaken but widely spread
assumption that it suffices to want (or simply wish) to obtain
the objects of our desires. Yet, desiring is certainly not enough,
because, by its very nature, discovery is unpredictable.
If it were enough to want something, there would be nothing to
discover, but simply the need for orientating the natural course
of things in the right direction. We all know that this is an
impossible dream (which would destroy any interest in discovery
This is exactly what Louis Pasteur understood: it is essential
to take the social demand into account, to be driven by the motivation of
the people we live with. Yet this must not mean that this motivation,
by itself, is enough to lead to discovery. The role of a motivation
is simply to allow one to choose between the many paths that
are offered to our minds. The possibilities for novel knowledge
are without any limitation. And once a motivated path is chosen,
it needs to be explored with the
which is the only way to be sure that it will lead to discoveries.
For example, we know that wine
and beer, from time to time, become sour. This happens without
known causes, and this asks a question. Some correlations have
been observed with a variety of phenomena, but correlations are
not causes. Can we use this observation to understand the causes
of the process? Silkworms are suddenly dying from a terrible
disease that drives all the workers in the silk factories of
southern France to unemployment. The governement calls Louis
Pasteur for help, as he has solved the riddle of the diseases
of beer and wine, creating from this very practical motivation
the bases of modern microbiology...
Motivation asks a question. The question leads to conceptual
and experimental research, of the very same type as that performed by pure academic research.
And as a consequence it produces discoveries. Exactly what research
is meant to do. The fate of these discoveries is of two types. First
they serve as bases for the creation of the general knowledge
that is used to progressively build up our common knowledge. Second,
it leads to applications that may be used by the world of industry,
fulfilling public demands and providing work for the people.
The study of the diseases of beer and wine, beside being at the
forefront of the creation of a whole scientific discipline,
microbiology, led to processes that are still in use today, in
particular in the various industrial processes used to produce
beer and other fermentations.
This way expresses the general background of our values and our business model.
We start from general and widespread demands, and, as a start
point, from the hardships endured by patients submitted to long
term medical treatments — but we may also be driven to work on
the quality of our environment, soil and water in particular,
which are also enduring harsh treatments — and we try and understand
the metabolic alterations that go in parallel with these situations.
This allows us to discover novel metabolic pathways and novel
interactions. Using this knowledge, which we will make public,
we can derive applications, that will naturally be protected
by intellectual property rights needed for the functioning of
the company and for the work of its employees.
As can be seen, this win-win model, allows us to build up an
harmonious collaboration with the academic world, as academy
— with creation of novel knowledge — and industry — with creation
of effective applications — both find their interest in our work.
This model, finally, because of its deep roots into social demand,
poses from its very beginning the ethical, safety and security
questions that should be compelling for all. Indeed we, too,
belong to the general public, and our concerns are the same as
those of everybody. We thus participate to an intellectual intelligence
that is too often absent from academic research, leading to deep
misunderstandings about technology-driven research in biology.
Misunderstandings that led to real sufferings in our societies,
whether in its imagination, or in the wrong usage of our common
resources, the limits of which we are now all aware of.