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    New Wuhan-Dourges rail link for Décathlon

    On Monday, November 20, a freight train from China will pull into the Décathlon warehouse in Dourges, launching a new weekly rail service between Hauts-de-France and Wuhan, in eastern China.

    Croda’s long-term investment strategy

    Specialty chemicals group Croda has invested steadily in its Hauts-de-France manufacturing site since 2006—most recently in a new production line to optimize profitability.

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    Health start-up Japet offers relief from back pain

    07 Jul 2017 | Front page, Health Nutrition, A region on the move

    Antoine Noël and Damien Bratic—both graduates of the Centrale Lille school of engineering—founded Japet Medical Devices to develop a revolutionary new solution for back pain.

    Solving a widespread problem

    Four out of five people in the Western world suffer from back pain—a problem that inspired this young company to develop Atlas, an innovative exoskeleton that relieves lower back pain and helps patients resume an active life with no need for invasive, immobilizing devices. The Atlas belt is fitted with micromotors and an array of sensors that are activated by remote control to reduce the weight carried by the lumbar vertebrae and take pressure off the spine. “Atlas is the first device that simultaneously relieves lower back pain and allows patients to move,” says Antoine Noël.

    Path to success

    Founded in 2015, Japet Medical Devices received an initial infusion of €300,000 from the Banque Publique d’Investissement and in 2016 was discovered at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show by Hax, a US business accelerator based in Shenzhen. Hax injected an additional $160,000 into the start-up and hosted it in China for 111 days of intensive development support.

    Clinical trials at Lille University Hospital Center

    Today Lille University Hospital Center is financing clinical trials to help Atlas win the regulatory approvals it needs. Some 30 patients have benefited from the device, and feedback is positive. “It’s a real relief for the spine,” says Hélène, a back-pain sufferer.

    Next stop: Your home

    Japet expects to put Atlas on the market in Europe in 2018. Initially, the belt will be sold to rehabilitation centers and physical therapy clinics, but eventually patients may be able to rent their own for use at home in combination with a customized exercise program.

    Source: La Voix du Nord, Les échos,

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