The International BIO 2010 convention, held recently in Chicago, was a chance to promote French expertise and strengths in the biotechnologies sector. Almost half of all new drugs on the world market have their origins in biotechnologies. Outside healthcare, nano-biotechnologies, a cross between biotechnologies and ICT, and biotechnologies for environmental purposes are particularly promising research areas. In March 2011, the French city of Nantes will play host to the Biomarine 2011 summit, devoted to marine biotechnologies, or ‘blue biotechnologies.’
There are almost 400 biotechnology businesses in France, employing around 6,000 people, over half of whom work in R&D activities. The industry in France is ranked third in Europe after the United Kingdom and Germany. French biotech companies are at the cutting edge of research efforts, with over 160 potential new drugs in the pipeline. In the health sector, the leading area for the application of biotechnologies, all the major foreign laboratories are already operating in France.
Eight innovation clusters with a biotech/health focus have been helping the sector to move forward in France since 2005, particularly by promoting interaction between manufacturers and public-sector laboratories. These clusters are open ‘business ecosystems’ which already count around 60 foreign businesses among their members.
Formed in early 2009, the National Alliance for Life Sciences and Health (Alliance Nationale pour les Sciences de la Vie et de la Sant