Life Sciences Technology Park in Paris Shows Growth, But Still Faces Tough Economic Conditions

Last year R&D increased with more researchers, more proofs of concept, more patents registered and more preclinical milestones achieved.

Biocitech, the Paris life sciences technology park, recently announced that the 27 enterprises based onsite continued to invest, innovate and sign contracts last year.

Innovation indicators in 2011 include nine proofs of concept, up 30%; 177 patents applied for, up 17%; and five preclinical milestones achieved, up 60%. Companies located in the part report achieving 60 significant scientific advances, up 7% compared with 2010. The number of scientists grew as well currently representing 317 out of 551 personnel working onsite.

Biocitech organized 15 national and international scientific events, bringing together more than 1,200 participants. At a local level, a colloquium in conjunction with local authorities, a local university, and small, medium and large companies in the area demonstrated how life sciences are contributing to the present and future of the Seine-Saint Denis department close to Paris.

Progress further downstream was more limited against a background of economic difficulties experienced generally in the life science field. Phase I trial starts numbered seven and Phase II just one. Residents reported one example of in-licensing and two of out-licensing.

On the other hand, contracts continued to be signed -- 13, up 40%, in 2011, collaboration agreements between Biocitech residents came in at 22, up 1. While the campus effect makes it easy for residents to work together and develop joint offers, there was a drop in partnerships with outside companies, down 8% cent to 52, in particular with international companies, which more than halved to 11, another indicator of the depressed economic climate in 2011.

The enterprises based at Biocitech are all innovative start-ups. Some of the more recently created have shown extraordinary growth rates but overall the residents' revenues declined by 15%. Funding from grants and similar sources also dropped to EUR 6.5 million, and a similar trend saw equity funding drop to EUR 2.85 million (US$3.7 million) against EUR 30 million (US$39 million) in 2010. The total equity raised by Biocitech residents since its creation in 2003 remains an impressive EUR 404.1 million (US$531 million).

Most Biocitech residents share a pessimistic view of 2012 which they believe will be no better than 2011 in terms of raising funds either through winning contracts or equity.

Despite the generally downbeat view of 2011, four new companies set up their base at Biocitech during the 12 months. They operate in different areas, all offering services that add to the variety of skills available at Biocitech. They are: Biobank for Life, a biological sample storage specialist; Helios Biosciences, bioinformatics; Mitologics, screening; and PupPharma, preclinical pediatric research.

2011 was not an easy year for the economy and this has been especially true for innovative start-ups like those we host at Biocitech, said Jean-Franois Boussard, president of Biocitech. Our residents have however continued to make discoveries and scientific progress and to recruit highly qualified personnel despite economic difficulties. I believe that Biocitechs shared facilities and the potential for collaboration deals between companies based here has cushioned our residents from the worst of these tough economic times.

Biocitech offers resident companies on-site support from inception to maturity. It provides a range of services that are specifically designed for firms in the sectors of biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, medical and in vitro diagnostics, and medical devices.

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