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Sep 1, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 15)

Global Incentives Seek to Buoy Innovation

BIO2011 Highlighted Regional Perks Designed to Rapidly Move Advances from Lab to Market

  • Sparking Regional Development

    At BIO, Lyonbiopole announced a funding commitment of more than $3 billion by 2015 to support biotech R&D activities in the Rhcne-Alpes region of France, home to about 600 life science companies, with a particular emphasis on infectious diseases and cancer.

    Since its establishment in 2005, the Lyonbiopole cluster has supported the development of 92 R&D projects for a total investment of €470 million ($669 million), more than one-third of which has come from public funding sources.

    The cluster boasts an Infectious Diseases Center that hosts six R&D teams, including the Platine project team, a European Immunomonitoring Platform set up by an industrial consortium composed of Innate Pharma, Transgene, and ImmunID, and the academic research labs Inserm and the Léon Bérard center.

    Scheduled to open in mid-2013 is acCInov, a 64,600 sq. ft. real estate program located next to the Infectious Diseases Center on the Charles Mèrieux campus in Lyon Gerland. It will house innovation platforms intended to provide biological analysis and bioproduction services.

    In 2011, the Russian Federation adopted a program called Pharma2020, defining a national road map intended to support development of the country's pharmaceutical and medical industry from 2011 through 2020. The program's main objectives encompass increased exports, commercialization of innovative products, and training of qualified personnel.

    Defined targets include support for 10 world-class research centers for drug development and seven for medical device development, 734 million rubles ($26.2 million) in national drug production, 81 billion rubles ($2.9 billion) in pharmaceutical product exports, and 5,000 professionals trained/retrained.

    Biopharmcluster “Northern”, established around the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, is reportedly the first cluster of pharmaceutical and medical organizations created in Russia. Development programs in the cluster are co-financed by governmental and nongovernmental partners, and state support is available at the municipal, regional, and federal level.

    Enterprise Ireland is an agency of the Irish government that supports the growth of applied research in universities, helps companies grow, export, and enter new markets, invests directly in startup companies (more than 85 to date), and also invests in venture capital funds in Ireland such as Innovation Fund Ireland.

    Keith O'Neill, Ph.D., director of life science and food research commercialization at Enterprise Ireland, described the role of the agency's Innovation Partnership Program as follows: “It identifies a business need for research and delivers to the company an academic partner.”

    The government provides 80% of the funding for the research collaboration. Dr. O'Neill emphasized the one-on-one support Enterprise Ireland provides. Each company is paired to an investment advisor who provides guidance on seed funding, access to markets, R&D grants, and other investment opportunities.


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