Polyplus-transfection is located in Illkirch, in the suburbs of Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region , in the North-East part of France, close to Germany and Switzerland. Alsace has a very strong cultural identity, and has been the home of numerous Biotechs and Pharmas for years. To learn more about the unique situation of Alsace, visit our dedicated webpage.

Founding of the company

Dr. Jean-Paul Behr, Dr. Anne-Lise Monjanel, Mrs. Joelle Bloch and Mr. Patrick Metz co-founded Polyplus-transfection in January 2001 to make highly effective and easy to use transfection reagents commercially available to research scientist working in molecular and cell biology.

Jean-Paul BehrDr. Jean-Paul Behr served as Directeur de Recherche Classe Exceptionnelle at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and was elected as a member of the French Academy of Sciences in 2008.

Jean-Paul graduated at the head of his class from the University of Strasbourg’s School of Chemical Engineering and subsequently joined Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn in 1969 to study for his Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry which was awarded in 1973. Following postdoctoral work with Dr D. Chapman in Sheffield (UK), where Jean-Paul developed a triplet-triplet annihilation technique for the measurement of lateral diffusion in biological membranes, J-P rejoined Prof. Lehn (1987 Chemistry Nobel Prize Laureate) at the University of Strasbourg to work on the development of Supramolecular Chemistry.

In 1989 J-P moved to the Faculty of Pharmacy (Univ. Strasbourg) to set up the Laboratoire de Chimie Génétique where the focus of his research centered on DNA-binding molecules relevant to biotechnology and gene therapy. Pioneering work from Prof. Behr’s laboratory led to the commercialization of well-known transfection reagents such as Transfectam®, Lipofectamine™ and Polyethylenimine (PEI). J-P’s « proton sponge » paradigm for intracellular delivery of nucleic acid-based drugs (more than 2600 citations for a single paper in PNAS) is recognized as a seminal work in supramolecular galenics.

JP Behr has authored more than150 scientific publications, generating more than 12.000 citations and has published 13 patents. In a career devoted to nucleic acids for over 20 years, J-P has delivered more than 300 public lectures worldwide and organized 9 scientific symposia. J-P also served as a retained consultant to pharmaceutical companies (7 in the US, 2 in France, 1 in Switzerland). Dr Behr was a founder of two commercial companies, Eurothera (1993-96) and Polyplus-transfection® (2001) where he continues to serve as a scientific adviser and mentor.

Among many awards, JP Behr is a recipient of the CNRS silver medal, the International Pharmaceutical Society FIP Biotech Award and the Therapeutic Society Paul Ehrlich Award. J-P was founding Associate Editor of the Journal of Gene Medicine and continues to work on the boards of many scientific journals. J-P was also a member of the scientific committee of the American Society of Gene Therapy (2001 Chair, Nonviral Section) and of the European Society of Gene Therapy as well as the French Muscular Dystrophy and Cystic Fibrosis Foundations.

Management team

Karsten Wilking Karsten Wilking, Chairman & CEO
Karsten Wilking joined Polyplus-transfection® in 2017 with a strong expertise in Life Sciences business. Karsten previously worked in sales- and senior management of several companies such as Invitrogen®, Applied Biosystems® or Life Technologies®.

Gabriel Festoc

Gabriel Festoc (Ph.D.), Chairman of the Executive Board at Polyplus holding, the organization that holds Polyplus-transfection®.
Gabriel Festoc (Ph.D.) joined Polyplus-transfection® as Chairman in February 2009. Previously, Gabriel was the founder (2000), Chairman & CEO of GeneSystems® (now part of the Pall Corporation). In addition, Gabriel has worked as a senior consultant for a number of biotechnology companies and financial investors.

Patrick Erbacher

Patrick Erbacher, CSO
Patrick Erbacher (Ph.D.) worked as a postdoctoral research scientist in the Laboratory of Genetic chemistry of Dr. Jean-Paul Behr  and joined Polyplus-transfection as it was founded. Patrick has co-authored 12 patent applications and more than 35 scientific publications.

Pascale Belguise

Pascale Belguise, Business Development Manager
Pascale Belguise (Ph.D.) also worked as a postdoctoral research scientist in  the Laboratory of Genetic Chemistry at the University of Strabourg before joining Polyplus-transfection® as it was founded.


Léone Atayi, Chief Financial Officer & Sales Administration Manager
Léone Atayi joined Polyplus-transfection® in 2010 and owns a Master degree in Human Resources. She brings over 15 years of experience in various positions in different industries.


Bertrand Coissac, Business Director – Asia
Bertrand Coissac (M.S., MBA) is based in Hong Kong and joined Polyplus-transfection® in 2011 after serving more than 10 years in a variety of international sales and marketing leadership positions with companies such as Genzyme, GeneSystems and Pall Corporation.

Julien Depollier

Julien Depollier, Business Director – Americas
Julien has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology from University of Montpellier II (France, 2004).
Julien is based in Greater Boston area (Massachusetts) and joined Polyplus-transfection® in 2011 after serving for 5 years several positions in Sales at Ozyme (French distributor) and New England Biolabs (Evry, France).

Lionel Montemont

Lionel Montémont, Business Director – EMEA
Lionel Montémont joined Polyplus-tranfection® in 2018 after 15 years’ experience within the chemical industry (Dow®) as European Business Development Manager (including missions for the United Nations (UNIDO)) as well as in pharmaceutical industry in a laboratory certified EU-GMP Part I – EU-GMP Part II and Excipact™ as Business Manager.
.Géraldine Guérin-Peyrou  Géraldine Guérin-Peyrou, Director of Marketing & Technical Support
Géraldine Guérin-Peyrou (M.S.) joined Polyplus-transfection® in 2007, after graduating with a Master Degree from Columbia University, New York. She is managing product development, marketing and communication, as well as the highly skilled technical support team.