France Biotech report highlights lack of support for French life
16 January 2015
France Biotech, an association of entrepreneurs in the life
sciences industry has published its annual survey, Panorama of
the Life Sciences, which outlines the industry's major trends
for 2013 and 2014 in France and worldwide.
Pierre-Olivier Goineau, President of France Biotech, commented,
"Our twelfth study highlights the dynamism and wealth of French
innovation in the life sciences, from medical devices to
therapeutics, and green biotechnologies. Our SMEs have a very high
level of technical expertise and efficiency, allowing them to
quickly bring numerous projects to advanced stages of development.
This wealth has convinced stock market investors to invest in our
industry, a unique phenomenon in Europe that rewards SMEs founded in
the 2000s. These success stories belong to outstanding entrepreneurs
and their venture capital investors, and are a sign of both maturity
and promising growth potential.
"However, our youngest companies are struggling; venture capital
investors are fewer and have less power than they used to. The
entire funding chain is fragile, and the serious lack of incentives
to channel French household savings toward innovative companies
can't be fully compensated by the efforts of Bpifrance [a public
investment bank]. In order for our innovations to stir economic
growth and job creation, some obstacles blocking our way ought to be
These obstacles include excessive paperwork and administrative
tasks when dealing with multiples layers of academic institutions;
delays in applying to CIR, the Research Tax Credit, a French tax
incentive mechanism to support investments in SMEs; a lack of
understanding of the specificities of the industry from ANSM, the
French Agency for the Safety of Health Products, whose task is to
assess the risks posed by new health products; scarcity of the
dialogue with the public health authorities; and suppression of the
Precautionary Principle that generates fears.
France Biotech makes the following recommendations to implement
an ambitious policy to promote the development of innovative
companies in the life sciences:
- place innovation in life sciences at the heart of public
- strengthen and develop the number of venture capital
investment funds by channelling 5% of the French households'
life insurance toward investments into innovative companies;
- adapt the lifespan of FCICs (a French form of mutual fund)
and the status of JEI (a program supporting innovative
companies' R&D investments, including through tax breaks) to the
biotech investment cycle, which is longer than in other sectors,
a disadvantage made worse by the current status quo;
- promote the hiring of young academics using CIR and the JEI
- foster contractual agreements with academic partners by
streamlining the current practices and removing the multiple
layers of supervision by various academic institutions;
- improve competitiveness by lowering taxes related to BSAs
(stock warrants) and by extending the BSPCEs (founders'
warrants) to all SMEs.
The study is available on France Biotech website: