A 232 m2, fully equipped BSL-3 research facility on the CNRS campus in Montpellier is available to academic and corporate scientists for studies involving BSL-3 agents.

CEMIPAI has over 350m2 of Biosafety Level 2 and Biosafety Level 3 laboratory space (BSL-2 and BSL-3). These labs are fully equipped for in vitro viral and bacterias culture and assays. We also provide BSL-3 high-containment drug discovery services for evaluations of new therapeutics in the rapidly evolving fields of vaccines development, antiviral compounds, immunotherapy, gene therapy and cell therapy. Partnerships with Montpellier University’s animal biosafety lab (ABSL-3) form a full R&D pre-clinical value chain for efficacy studies.

Highly Experienced Personnel

In vitro studies conducted in our BSL-2 and BSL-3 facilities are directed by virologists and bacteriologists, with extensive experience in high-containment laboratories for research and select agent studies. Our technical staff is highly trained and experienced for conducting biosafety level 2 or 3 studies in infectious disease.

Full Suite of Supporting In Vitro Assays

Our in vitro assay support services are available for semi-automated drug screening against a growing number of viruses. We offer assay development, validation and performance verification. Learn more about our BSL-3 in vitro assays and virus production services

Unique BSL-3 microscopy facilities

In addition to the research suites, our BSL-3 facility includes two shared instrument rooms. These rooms house a photonic microscopy facility (Spinning Disk and TIRF video-microscopy for PALM/STORM super-resolution imaging), a high-speed Atomic Force Microscopy coupled with fluorescence microscopy and a videodrop for virus quantification and analysis. 

In 2021, the platform was labeled IBISA (Infrastructures en Biologie Santé et Agronomie), and its team of engineers rewarded by the ‘Cristal Collectif’ of CNRS 


Facilities for BSL-3 research

CEMIPAI’s containment facility includes 8 stand-alone research suites; each consisting of a microbiology research laboratory, with secure access through a common ante-room. The microbiology laboratory is a fully equipped research space which may be used for cell culture and standard microbiology experiments (vortexers, water baths, etc). Each laboratory is equipped with:

  •  biological safety cabinets
  • CO2 incubators
  • bacteriological incubators and shakers
  • -80-degree freezer
  • -20-degree freezer and refrigerator
  • digital inverted fluorescence microscopes
  • refrigerated centrifuge with safety enhanced rotor cups and adapters

Either only one of the 16 Biological Safety Cabinets can be rented, or a full suite containing 3 Biological Safety Cabinets and the required equipment.

Drug Discovery & Microbiology service

CEMIPAI offers ‘à la carte’ services :

  • Class 3 Bacteria production
  • Class 2 & 3 viruses production
  • In vitro assays for antiviral research: small molecules and antibody screening : 
    • HIV
    • SARS-CoV-2
    • ZIKA Virus
    • DENGUE Virus
BSL-3 Imaging Platform

The BSL3 microscopy facility is divided into two sections, sample preparation and BSL3 microscopes for the study of live infectious samples

Sample preparation

Sample staining for optical microscopy, Immunofluorescence

Production of EPON resin blocks, semi-fine sections and preparation of grids for transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

Photonic Microscopy BSL3

  • 1 Nikon Ti-E video-nanoscope equipped for TIRF mode and PALM/STORM super-resolution microscopy
  • 1 Zeiss Axio Observer 7 with Yokogawa CSU-X1 spinning disk
  • 1 Zeiss Celldiscoverer 7 automated microscope with LSM900/Airyscan 2 confocal

Atomic Force Microscopy

  • 1 JPK/Brüker Nanowizard 4 Atomic Force Microscope coupled with a Nikon Ti-U fluorescent microscope

Nanoparticles tracker

BSL-3 Training

Acquire or renew the knowledge necessary for class 3 pathogens handling and good practices in BSL-3. CEMIPAI’s containment laboratory training program provides courses for all personnel groups :

The CEMIPAI is part of the REDSAIM projet by Montpellier University and Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole

and is hosting the biotech company





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