Region/Countries: Europe, France Industry: Biosciences / Medical Devices Date: February 2020

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The biotech and medical technology industries employ 330,000 people directly and indirectly.

The French biotech and medical technology (medtech) industry is worth €67 billion, with about 330,000 employees directly or indirectly linked to the sector.  France has 720 biotech companies and 160 medtech companies that directly employ 50,000 people. France ranks third in Europe for the most biotech companies, following Germany and the United Kingdom (Info BiotechGate in La French Health Tech, 2017).

France is the only country outside the U.S. to appear in the top 10 Scimago classification for health research centers, with two establishments, the INSERM (second place) and the AP-AH (eighth place) in the Scimago rankings.

France has seven competitive hub centers of excellence in the pharmaceutical/Biotech sector: Lyon Bipôle, Medicen, Alsace Biovalley, Atlantic Biotherapies, Cancer Bio Santé, Eurobiomed and Nutrition Santé Longévité. Research and development spending is eligible for government tax credits through receiving authorization to sell medicines in the market and/or the European Trade EU marking for medical devices.

More than half of French biotech companies were born out of work that started as academic research. Partnerships often continue after the new company is created: 46% of French biotech companies are partnerships with academic research.

Euronext Paris is the leading market in Europe for biotech and the second in the world, behind the U.S., with 86 companies (49 biotech and 37 medtech) with market capitalization of more than €21.8 billion (€15.6 billion for biotech and €6.2 billion for medtech).

Startups are growing strongly and are working on treatments in fields as varied as immuno-oncology; inflammatory, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases; liver diseases; benign tumors; and thyroid nodules.

Among the high-growth biotech/medtech companies are DBV Technologies (valued at €886 million), providing an immunotherapy method; Cellectis (€866m), at the forefront of cancer therapies; and Genfit (€788m), which develops therapeutic and diagnostic solutions for metabolic and inflammatory diseases and liver diseases. Others include AB Science for various treatments against cancer, inflammatory diseases and neurodegenerative disorders; Quantum Genomics, a specialist in cardiovascular illnesses; Celyad, which tackles heart failure and immuno-oncology; Theraclion, which offers ultrasound technologies for benign tumors and thyroid nodules; Vexim, a specialist in spine implants; and Biophytis, which develops treatments against diseases caused by old age, such as muscular and visual problems.

The excellence of French researchers and engineers is a driving force behind biological and technological innovations as well as digital solutions, coming together to provide global therapeutic solutions for patients. Sanofi, the world’s third-leading pharmaceutical laboratory (IMS, 2017), is collaborating with Voluntis on telemedicine solutions for diabetes. Other major French pharmaceutical companies include Ipsen, Servier, Pierre Fabre and LFB.

There are many opportunities for Wisconsin companies to work with French pharmaceutical, biotech and medtech companies that are actively seeking partnerships. For example, the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes biotech cluster has built links with the San Francisco biotech cluster, resulting in Laurent Wauquiez, president of the region, being inspired to install a biotech digital campus in Charbonnières on the site of the former French regional council.