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Export opportunity – France biotherapies

Key details

Export opportunity: Biotherapies

Country: France

Sector: Life sciences

France – biotherapies opportunity summary 

France was a leader in fine chemical pharmacology in the early 1990s, but hasn't focused as much on the revolution in biotherapies, stem cells and biomarkers. 

The global French meds industry (biotherapies and fine chemistry) represents sales of €90 billion euros, 35% of which comes from exports. From start-ups to multinationals, nearly 3100 life sciences companies generate some 455,000 jobs.  

Following the health crisis of 2020, the French government launched a policy under the Plan France Relance to relocate production capacity for treatments and devices. This 'health reconquest' approach has taken concrete form with a plan to combat drug shortages. The strategy focuses on five key areas: 

  • Better anticipation of health needs
  • Improved drug availability
  • Securing supplies by relocating production
  • Improving information and transparency in the supply chain
  • Scale of export opportunity 

Internationally, the rise of biotherapies is causing a revolution in the healthcare industry. This market, worth almost €200 billion euros, accounted for 24.3% of the global pharmaceuticals market in 2019 and is expected to grow by between 8 and 9% a year, reaching €320 billion euros by 2025.

These new therapies represent a major economic challenge, but also a challenge for the future of the healthcare system and health sovereignty. It's also a cutting-edge research field, attracting talent from all over the world to work on the discovery of new treatments. 

According to President Macron’s 2022 plan to reinforce the "biotherapies and bioproduction of innovative therapies" sector, France has allocated €800 million euros to an acceleration strategy fund to support companies at the cutting edge of innovation.

France aims to produce 10 biomedicines to treat cancers and chronic diseases, including those linked to age, and create the medical devices of tomorrow. This is one of the ambitions of the Innovation Santé 2030 plan announced in June 2021. 

To help fill production gaps, French healthcare companies are looking to world-class manufacturing facilities in Europe that produce advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMP), working with those that are accredited by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and follow good manufacturing practice (GMP). Contract development and manufacturing organisations (CDMOs) and contract research organisations (CROs) can also help to fill the gaps. Both chemical production and bioproduction are required.

The 'Innovations in biotherapies' call for projects, worth around €300 million euros, has been open since 7 January 2022. It's aimed at companies and consortia developing either biotherapies or tools to accelerate their development, with two themes: 

  • Development of biotherapies for human or animal health (where an impact on human health is anticipated)
  • Development of research and development (R&D) tools for biotherapies

French healthcare imports continued to rise in 2021 by 14.01%, having already jumped by 13% in 2020. France also imported €26.4 billion euros worth of medicines (chemical and biomedicines). 

Company suitability   

Scottish companies best positioned to win this type of business are:  

  • CROs and contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs) that can address specific gaps in the French ecosystem
  • Companies offering innovations in biotherapy, stem cells and biomarkers
  • Companies that fit into the French government's four key areas of focus, including:
    • Biotechnologies in oncology, in particular monoclonal antibodies or CAR T-cells targeting the malignant cells of certain leukemias or lymphomas
    • Innovations in gene or cell therapy outwith oncology that could cure or improve the lives of patients suffering from rare diseases
    • New biological production systems for these therapies, such as bioreactors
    • The development of more efficient production units and tools for optimising culture systems and bioproduction processes

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