A major event in the biotech industry, the BIO International Convention attracts over 15,000 participants from 70 countries every year. After the first post-Covid convention in San Diego in 2022, the ecosystem has made a strong comeback. A French Healthcare Pavilion was set up for the occasion, with a record number of 127 bodies taking part (companies, regions, etc.). It was a “very well located, very open pavilion, in a central walkway, with a surface area of 232 m²,” said Jérôme Revole, managing director of the North American Healthcare Sector at Business France.
Public-sector stakeholders, regional representatives, and competitiveness and healthcare clusters were present at the pavilion (Atlanpole Biotherapies, Choose Paris Region, Medicen, Genopole, Institut Pasteur, Paris-Saclay, Eurasanté, Clubster NSL, Eurobiomed, Région Grand Est, BioValleyFrance and Lyonbiopôle). With a total of 400 companies at the show, France was the second most represented foreign nation after South Korea.
“Going to Boston is always an important opportunity since it is a major hub for life science innovation,” said Alexandre Blanchot, business developer manager at Medexprim, which was present at the show. Medexprim develops multimodal cohorts of real data from European hospitals in order to speed up clinical research, mainly in oncology, cardiology and neurology. “BIO was also a good occasion to greet and meet with some of our existing partners in the area (…) A must for entrepreneurs in life sciences to also help figure out the global competitive landscape in this sector.” .”
Depending on which pass they were issued with, companies had access to the show and/or to a partnering platform created specifically for French businesses, managed by French company Inova. The companies were required to state their specialty and what they were looking for and then made appointments with their prospects and partners. “The main objective was not for companies to present their services, but rather to take part in these partnering sessions,” said Jérôme Revole. “And this year was a resounding success.” In the words of Nicolas Poirier, CEO of OSE Immunotherapeutics. “Our two employees arranged over 50 appointments in just three and a half days! OSE Immunotherapeutics develops different types of first-in-class immunotherapies, a genuine innovation in therapeutic targets. Our business has a strong partnership dimension (€120 million generated). We work with big pharma companies such as Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany) and Veloxis Pharmaceuticals (Denmark and USA) in the area of transplantation. BIO is therefore the place to be to strengthen such collaborations and find new opportunities. Not to mention networking within the French delegation.”
“The 2023 BIO US gave French biotechs access to a partnering platform and important networking opportunities. Such networking is essential for meeting potential customers and partners, such as big pharma businesses, which is not always easy for companies in the early stages of their clinical development. Business France acts as a facilitator. We put them in contact with the right people,” said Ludmilla Potiron, healthcare trade advisor for Business France North America.
French Healthcare organized five thematic workshops at the show:“We led sessions with very high-level guest panels, featuring representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and experts in business development, partnering and licensing,” said Jérôme Revole. Round tables and presentations covered topics such as setting up a business in the United States, Boston’s innovative ecosystem and the best way to approach pharmaceutical companies. As South Korea was given pride of place this year, the France Pavilion also organized a meeting with representatives from the South Korean delegation.
“At BIO, American stakeholders are on the lookout for innovation and talent. France is recognized in the world of academic research for its ability to offer both technology and medical innovation,” said Jérôme Revole, managing director of the North American Health department at Business France.
Two networking evenings were also scheduled, including a reception on the evening of June 5. Over 350 people (the French delegation, experts from the European and American ecosystems, biotech and pharmaceutical companies and key opinion leaders) were invited to the Laboratoire Servier head office where they met its CEO, Olivier Laureau, as well as Laurent Bili, French Ambassador to the United States, and Laurent Saint-Martin, CEO of Business France. The following day, an evening to promote the attractiveness of France was organized by the French trade advisors (New England department). It is now up to the French biotechs to turn these North American contacts into long-term partnerships.