French biotech clusters join forces to develop stem cell engineering
3 November 2009
Three of the leading biotech clusters in France are joining forces to harness the potential of stem cells to advance healthcare.
The new consortium has received significant French government funding for a three-year research and development project, which will focus on the use of iPSCs, or induced pluripotent stem cells.
By developing the technology to create custom iPSCs, (adult cells reprogrammed to a stem cell-like state), the partners will be able to provide pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies with an unlimited, non-controversial, supply of human cells that meet an unmatched standard of quality, and ultimately speed up the process of therapeutic innovation.
The number of organisations coming together in collaboration between companies and research institutes is unprecedented. Co-sponsored by three major French biotech clusters — Alsace BioValley (Strasbourg), Cancer Bio Santé (Toulouse) and Medicen (Paris) — the project, named SHIP-In, has a total budget of $6.5 million, and has secured financial support from the French government totalling $3.1 million.
France’s commitment to advancing the healthcare industry — rom regenerative medicine and neurodegenerative diseases to vaccines and vaccinotherapy — goes beyond project-specific funding. Since 2005, France has established eight official innovation clusters that focus solely on biotechnology and healthcare. Projects within these clusters, and 63 additional clusters which specialise in other industries, are selected for funding by the French government following a bi-annual request for project proposals.
Fabrice Etienvre, CEO of Invest in France UK and Ireland, said: “France’s commitment to innovation, coupled with the best R&D tax incentives in Europe, mean companies choosing to come to France and to the innovative clusters find themselves in a highly-supportive environment. SHIP-In is an excellent example of the various resources, expertise and collaborative opportunities that are available in France.”
Invest in France Agency (IFA): www.investinfrance.org