NEXT Biotech Booster intends to open up the US market to French biotech startups.
“We support and help businesses in their early stages. They may at times find themselves hampered in their development due to a lack of funds or the highly complex US market, that discourages them at the regulatory and competitive level,” said Marie-Astrid Sevilla, Healthcare Trade Advisor at Business France. “When you understand that there are over 7,000 biotechs listed in the US, it is hardly surprising that companies may feel lost!”
NEXT Biotech Booster therefore intends to structure the scientific roadmap for these startups, to plan their pre-clinical and clinical trials, to initiate collaboration with opinion leaders and to help them gain in credibility in the eyes of investors and industrialists.
In order to distinguish between the candidate companies, a pitch session was organized in April before a panel of North American experts, comprising six individuals (two academics, two biotech representatives − Moderna and Elevate Bio − and two financiers). In this pilot year, Business France decided to organize a small delegation on a human scale and thus restricted itself to six businesses:
– Thabor Therapeutics (Inflammatory Bowel Disease − IBD)
– Medjeduse (Medical implants and nervous system traumas)
– ILONOV (Biotherapies to treat diabetes)
– PannTheraPi (Treatment of brain and nervous diseases)
– LinKinVax (Vaccine platform against multiple pathogens)
– Oregon Therapeutics (Disruptive therapy in oncology)
“NEXT Biotech Booster helps catalyze the development of young biotechs, from the beginning to the end of the process, from selection until the roadshow in the USA and Canada, including workshops and customized coaching sessions. These businesses would not have the same opportunities if they were on their own,” Marie-Astrid Sevilla, Healthcare Trade Advisor at Business France.
In June the six laureates took part in virtual workshops. Regulatory aspects, market access strategy and reimbursement, fundraising, intellectual property, clinical development, … all key themes to ensure a successful deployment in North America. The startups also benefited from expert coaching and customized feedback, “real added value leading to a tangible result,” Marie-Astrid Sevilla added.
Finally, there was a third phase during which they were invited to a roadshow in Boston and Montreal, from September 26 to 30, 2022. Over the course of a day and a half in Montreal and three days in Boston, following the targeting meetings arranged by the Business France teams before the trip, each company had their own list of appointments, in accordance with their needs, objectives and targets (partnerships with big pharma companies, meetings with academics, investors or KOLs,…).
These dates were not chosen at random. The delegation’s visit coincided with the Biotech Week in Boston. As a result, the six laureates were able to arrange a larger number of in person meetings.
Informally or over the course of speed meetings and pitch sessions, they met with the operators involved in the ecosystem (chambers of commerce, French foreign trade advisers,investors, corporate ventures…) and presented their projects and solutions to them. An evening was organized in Boston by Business France, that brought together 150 major French and US invited guests.
In total, around forty qualified appointments were arranged over these five days. A number of confidentiality agreements between these startups and major laboratories are currently in the process of being signed. “We know that these acceleration programs work, so you feel useful. The results are very gratifying!” Marie-Astrid Sevilla said.
Let us not forget that France is the leading healthtech marketplace in Europe, with 75 of the 131 European businesses listed on the Euronext markets, i.e. a total market capitalization of almost €60 billion.