Brussels, 23 Nov 2004
France must take advantage of the biotechnology revolution to take lead and capture a share of the growing market for biological drugs, the French drug industry organisation LEEM has urged.
To achieve this, LEEM has put forward five main proposals for the 2002-2015 period under the Biomedicaments 2010 initiative aimed at boosting France's biotechnology sector and attracting inward investment to France.
'Biopharmaceuticals are increasingly important in pharmaceutical innovation,' states LEEM in its Biomedicaments report. 'By 2010, between 87 and 137 drugs issued from biotechnology should be available to patients. Biomedicine will, by then, represent 12 per cent of the global drug market, some 100 billion dollars in turnover. This growth, which will exceed 14 per cent a year, will entail quadrupling the production capacity of biopharmaceuticals that currently exist worldwide,' adds LEEM.
According to LEEM, this prospect opens an opportunity for France, namely attracting by 2010 the biopharmaceutical production sites that will have to open in order to respond to global demand. France could structure around this industrial development an efficient and competitive French biotechnology network, believes the organisation.
LEEM's first proposal is for lifesciences and nanosciences to be made an absolute priority in research and development (R&D). With this objective in mind, LEEM recommends that the new Agence Nationale de la Recherche (National Research Agency) should spend 60 per cent of its budget (one billion euro a year) on the life sciences, as well as nano- and biotechnology.
Secondly, says LEEM, France needs two or three biopoles - biotechnology centres of excellence - linking academic, clinical and private sector research to attain critical mass in keys areas. LEEM envisages a life science centre in the Paris region and one for nanosciences in Grenoble. In parallel, LEEM recommends that government introduce tax credits for researchers working on the development and production of biologics.
The third recommendation is to establish a national fund to sustain and support the first clinical trials of biopharmaceuticals products in France.
The fourth recommendation concerns the setting up of financial mechanisms to help with the investments needed for the establishment of new biomanufacturing plants.
Finally, LEEM recommends launching a national strategic plan to boost recruitment and training in the biotech sector.
LEEM also notes that France is one of Europe's largest drug producers, but has only six biopharmaceuticals plants. While the establishment of effective national biopharmaceutical production will mobilise considerable investment (between 250 and 300 million euro per production unit), it could, on the other hand, generate almost 3,500 jobs over ten years, half of which would for highly qualified scientists.
'An immediate and sustained effort is needed if France wants to raise to the challenge in an extremely competitive sector and be once again a major player in the biopharmaceutical sphere,' the report concludes. To read the full report (in French), please visit: http:///www.extranet.leem.org/UploadPubli c/2004/versionrésumée.pdf