The Biotech Sector

The French biotech industry is ranked third in Europe after the UK and Germany.

Here are five great reasons to grow your business in the extensive French and neighbouring European markets:

1. Sell your product in the extensive market

Over the last twenty years, France has become a major player in the European biotechnology sector. There are currently more than 400 biotechnology companies in France. The sector employs around 20,000 people, including the companies that are indirectly related to the development and production of biotechnologies.

2. Link your product to the high number of research institutions

A large number of research institutions, technology parks and scientific personnel are active in the industry. France is ranked second, right after Germany, in number of full-time researchers working in the life sciences sector and number four worldwide in the number of scientific works published every year.

3. Take advantage of the Innovation support measures

France has a wide range of support programs and mechanisms that are available in the biotech field. New tax credits and exemptions system supports innovative industries such as the biotechnology industry to encourage research-driven start-ups. Biotech companies are eligible for various innovation support measures, such as Research Tax Credit.

4. Gain a competitive edge by creating fruitful partnerships

France has created a series of competitiveness Clusters to leverage synergies between higher education and both private and public research. France’s bio sector is currently on the move, thanks to a nurturing environment for innovation and increasing access to capital. The biotechnology centers in France encourage local and regional cooperation in support of industry growth.

5. Collaborate and innovate by Connecting to global research

The degree of international cooperation in innovation in France is high and in line with the OECD countries. France hosts the third largest foreign doctoral population (28 000), after the United States (92 000) and the United Kingdom (38 000). France also boasts the long-standing presence of international companies which adds to the dynamism of the sector.


Clinical trials provide an indication of what is in the pipeline of pharmaceutical products and the significance of biopharmaceuticals for the coming years. Cancer seems to be the dominant therapeutic field at which biopharmaceuticals in the pipeline are targeted.

Therapeutic areas are classified according to the portfolio of products they have in development (France Biotech 2006): Cancer 18%, Infectious 12%, Immunology 9%, Neurology Neurodegenerative Diseases 7%, Dermatology 7%, and Medical Genetics 4%.

Specialised innovation clusters

France offers a favorable environment for partnerships through the eight innovation clusters. These clusters help the biotechnology sector to grow since 2005. They are focused on promoting interaction between manufacturers and public-sector laboratories.

The eight clusters of excellence are:

These clusters are open business ecosystems. They already count around 60 non-French businesses amongst their members.

Opportunities for Australian companies

  • Research on the capabilities for bio-manufacturing as a response to increasing demand for clinical and commercial lots.
  • Outsourcing of clinical research of large pharmaceutical companies and intensifying their activity of “Licensing in”.
  • Development of public-private partnerships that strengthen links between academics and the industry: Sanofi and Roche are leaders in the European Joint Technology Initiatives: Innovative Medicine (IMI), Pierre Fabre, Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline co-finance The Scientific Foundation for Co-operation in NaBioSanté.
  • Drug discovery and development provide opportunities for collaborative research partnerships.
  • Opportunities for licensing and technology transfer agreements.

Association française des Biotechnologies:
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