Officials of San Diego’s Biocom and Eurobiomed, an agency in southeastern Francce, sign an agreement to help biotech companies do business in each other’s regions. From left, Magda Marquet, founder of Althea Technologies and chair of Biocom; Jacquie Berthe, president of Eurobiomed and a scientific director of Sanofi-Aventis; and Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom.
Formally establishing a relationship years in the making, San Diego’s life science trade group, Biocom has signed a economic development pact with a French governmental agency.
The deal between Biocom and Eurobiomed in southeastern France commits them to help their respective biomedical companies establish ties and do business in each other’s regions. Already, one French biotech company, Neuroservice, has joined Biocom, said Stéphane Richard, president and founder of French BioBeach, a San Diego Franco-American biotech networking group. Another company, Roowin, is in the process of joining.
Biocom and Eurobiomed officials signed the deal Tuesday morning in the French pavilion at the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s 2014 annual convention, held this year at the San Diego Convention Center. About 15,000 people are expected to attend through Thursday from 47 states and 65 countries. BIO 2014 is the world’s biggest biotech convention. It was previously held in San Diego, itself a top global biotech center, in 2001 and 2008.
Eurobiomed promotes biomedical economic development in the regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Languedoc Roussillon. The territory includes the cities of Marseille, Nice and Montpellier on the Mediterranean coast. With four major university hospitals the area provides a strong health care infrastructure to complement research, said Jacquie Berthe, president of Eurobiomed.
“For American companies who want to develop their new drugs in Europe, it’s a good way to start clinical development,” Berthe said. “We’ve worked with Biocom for the past two years. Last year, for example, we had eight American companies go to the south of France, Marseille and Nice. This year, we have 12 companies from Eurobiomed attending BIO.”
“What we expect with the agreement with Biocom is to help American companies go to the south of France to find partners and to find financing, and to advance all their clinical trials and regulatory affairs.” Berthe said. “And we expect the same thing for French companies in California.”
Other aspects of the collaboration include training on how to meet European and U.S. regulations, saving money through combined purchasing agreements, and scientific exchanges.
Eurobiomed has more than 400 companies as members, including such major companies as Sanofi-Aventis, where Berthe is the scientific director of Sanofi’s center in Montpellier.
This fall, Biocom will return to France, Joe Panetta, Biocom’s president and CEO, said at the signing ceremony.
Last year’s visit was arranged by French BioBeach, with help from Eurobiomed, Team Côte d’Azur, Provence Promotion and the regional economic development agency, MDER. Panetta wrote about the delegation’s trip to France last year in U-T San Diego.
French biotech initiatives toward San Diego combine private-sector businesses and groups with support from French governmental agencies. French BioBeach was founded in 2006 by Richard in partnership with the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. In 2010, Richard, then with the French biological software company Medit SA, helped form a partnership between that company and the Sanford-Burnham Medical research Institute to improve drug-design by finding promising proteins for future development.
Eurobiomed itself is sponsored by the French regional governments, with about 60 percent of its funding coming from government sources, Berthe said. In contrast, Biocom is a wholly private entity. In addition, Eurobiomed helps with basic research, while Biocom does not.
Just to the north of Eurobiomed territory, the business development group Lyonbiopole also sent a delegation to the BIO convention. The group represents a biomedical cluster in and around the city of Lyon. Lyonbiopole’s Florence Agostino-Etchetto attended the Eurobiomed signing.
Lyonbiopole is also interested in building collaborations, including academic relationships, Agostino-Echetto said. The region is one of seven recognized biotechnology clusters in France. The region is known for its work on vaccines and therapies for infectious diseases and cancer.
“In California and in San Diego, there are a lot of organizations and companies in biotechnology we can collaborate with,” she said. “We hope our companies can find some good partners in San Diego.”
Lyonbiopole can help finance innovative projects and recruit people for them, she said.
Source: Union Tribune San Diego, http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/Jun/24/biocom-eurobiomed-france/2/?#article-copy