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The Success story of… Patrizia Paterlini-Bréchot


Researcher, Professor… and Founder of Rarecells

September, 2019

Patrizia Paterlini-Bréchot studied medicine at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where she specialised in haematology and oncology. After working as an oncologist in Bologna, she met a number of world-renowned researchers and in turn she decided to go into medical and scientific research. So, in 1988 she left Italy for Paris where she trained in molecular biology. Her gamble paid off as today she’s Professor of cell and molecular biology and oncology at Paris Descartes University. She also heads up a team of researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM). She focuses on circulating tumor cells (CTC) and detecting them by blood filtration for cancer prevention. She managed to develop a test to detect cancer by a blood test, the ISET® method, a real breakthrough in medicine that has led to her being a finalist for this year’s European Inventor Awards

In 2011, Patrizia set out on an entrepreneurial venture by founding Rarecells Diagnostics, to develop and commercialise ISET® technology. And just like in research, you need to fight to exist in entrepreneurship. “In research, the vast majority of research directors are men, and yet there are lots of women in research who could qualify for such a post”, deplores Patrizia. The world of entrepreneurship is equally difficult to understand. “The notions of leadership in research and entrepreneurship are totally different. I needed to learn other ways of working, to establish hierarchy and manage finances.” This is where the WIF foundation came into play. Patrizia’s son, working at a New York start-up at the time, found out about the Foundation as his director was one of the first mentees. A meeting was soon set up between Patrizia and Martine Liautaud: “I was really impressed when Martine told me about her career and everything that she’s done with the Foundation.”

Claire Simier, executive coach and founderof Simier Partners, became her mentor: “Meeting Claire came just at the right moment; she’s based in New York, and I was planning on moving to the States to develop my company.” Although Patrizia already had strategic contacts, notably at Colombia University, she needed to find sources of investment for fundraising. “Claire’s helping me a lot in this transition phase, and I now have the chance of having an unbelievable network of people supporting my project. People I meet quickly become aware of the global benefit of the ISET® method in fighting cancer.”

With an approach as fundamental as it is revolutionary, let’s bet that Patrizia will not only take the USA by storm, but will also promote the position of women in research.

Access Patrizia Paterlini-Brechot’s LinkedIn page

To find out more aboutRarecells and the ISET® method, click here