Covid-19: the French Bioclusters network unveil a national initiative map.

26 May 2020

Strasbourg, Paris, Lyon, Lille, Nantes, Marseille, 7th May 2020 – The six health competitiveness clusters – Atlanpole Biotherapies, BioValley France, Eurobiomed, Lyonbiopôle, Medicen and Clubster NSL – have collated the actions taken by academic and industrial stakeholders in France working to combat the pandemic. This map includes more than 280 Covid-19 initiatives (diagnostic tests, collaborative projects, clinical trials, vaccines/treatments, post-Covid-19 rehabilitation, fundraising and donations, etc.) and will be updated throughout the entire period of the crisis. These initiatives represent a mobilisation of all French health and innovation organisations, the majority of which are members of health clusters. Access the map here.

Breakdown of initiatives by category:

  • Fundraising and donations/volunteering and information gathering platforms: more than 80 actions
  • Collaborative projects : 9 actions
  • Organisation of care, production of equipment, medical devices and training for healthcare workers: more than 30 actions
  • Telemedicine – remote patient monitoring: more than 40 actions
  • Academic and clinical research: more than 35 actions
  • Diagnostic tests: more than 20 actions
  • Antivirals, vaccines and treatments: more than 15 actions
  • Medical imaging and post-emergency care rehabilitation: more than 10 actions
  • Data sharing and protection: more than 10 actions

Health initiatives during lockdown: more than 15 actions

A strong and united health community

For more than 15 years, the six French health competitiveness clusters have been working together to support the country’s hospital facilities, world-class research centres and companies, which develop innovative concepts and products to improve the daily lives of health professionals, patients and, more broadly, citizens. As explained by Marco PINTORE, General Manager of BioValley France:

“When the crisis struck France, we knew that the country’s health community had the necessary expertise to make an effective contribution to combating the virus. We realised that the battle would not be easy and that it would be long, but we were also aware that these academic and industrial organisations had the ability to adapt in pursuit of a common goal: to provide help in exiting from the crisis. This map provides an illustration of the massive mobilisation of the health community while highlighting its expertise and innovative capabilities.”

Being able to rely on a strong and united community is vital in these difficult times. “Since the start of the health crisis, we have been called upon by the national and regional authorities, which are able to rely on our detailed knowledge of the sector and our ability to mobilise our respective communities in an extremely short time. Each time we have contacted our members – SMEs or organisations (hospitals, industrial partners or academics) – they have responded without hesitation. Every day, we are supporting new and innovative solutions and witnessing an outpouring of generosity from the French health community, which has demonstrated a genuine desire to help,” says Emilie Royere, General Manager of Eurobiomed.

Establishing a link between healthcare providers, researchers, companies and public authorities: a key role for clusters on a national level

 Although healthcare facilities have been primarily affected by a reorganisation of their operations in order to accommodate patients, companies have also demonstrated an amazing ability to adapt in responding to the current challenges. Against this background, the role of “conduit” between the public and private health sectors played by the competitiveness clusters has proved key, as highlighted by Jessica Leygues, CEO of Medicen Paris Region :

“The current crisis reaffirms the essential nature of the role performed by the health competitiveness clusters. By connecting start-ups, industrial operators, academics and hospitals, we are not only promoting collaboration for the emergence of new projects to combat Covid-19, but also matching the urgent requirements of healthcare providers with the products and services offered by our business and industrial network.” She adds, “This map demonstrates a desire on the part of health clusters to work together and to increase their networking activity. Originating now against the background of a crisis, this collaboration must continue in the future to make the capabilities of the best stakeholders in each field available to patients.”

 This map also shows that there are no academic/industrial or public/private barriers, there are only health experts, who are seeking to advance research and provide solutions. The health clusters are acting as a catalyst to enable large-scale collaborative actions to be established. This is the reason why Lyonbiopôle was able to launch a digital international partnering event “#PartneringAgainstCovid19” with Inova Software and Evaluate Ltd and to obtain support from the health competitiveness clusters in record time.

As explained by Florence Agostino Etchetto, General Manager of Lyonbiopôle, “In the Covid-19 crisis, the clusters are also demonstrating enormous agility, in order to make it as easy as possible to establish partnerships and for new innovations to emerge. Mobilising our ecosystems and specific know-how, combined with our capacity to function as a network, while being surrounded by our health communities, is giving us the ability to implement solutions for the common good in record time, as illustrated by this map and the international partnering event, which brought together more 3000 participants from 80 different countries. This partnering event, launched just 3 weeks ago, resulted in worldwide meetings around the clock, for 3 days, with the aim of combating Covid-19.”

An acceleration in diagnostic and therapeutic innovation

Placing a new product or service on the market in the health sector is the result of a lengthy process, which requires numerous resources to be deployed and legal certifications to be obtained. In the face of a health emergency, a number of dedicated regional, national and European mechanisms for projects undertaken to combat the pandemic are being put in place, in order to accelerate this process. As highlighted by Florence Hallouin, General Manager of Atlanpole Biotherapies:

“Time is at a premium for academic and industrial health stakeholders, who are always needing to work faster – with less haste and more speed as lives are at stake. However, since the beginning of the health crisis, we have been witnessing extraordinary feats by the community in terms of health innovation. A number of strategies are currently being tested, for treating Coronavirus infections, detecting a worsening of the disease and even providing follow-up care for patients with respiratory failure. In addition, other companies are working hard to develop a vaccine and diagnostic tests to detect the presence of the virus.” During this period, French health clusters are there for their members, to help them innovate in these exceptional circumstances.

“Numerous French organisations have achieved incredible things by adapting or modifying their products and services. The time/innovation ratio has profoundly changed with Covid-19 and this has only been possible because the expertise is present. This crisis is highlighting the strategic importance of having health industries and the related skills within our territory,” states Etienne Vervaecke, General Manager of Clubster NSL.

Although French health clusters are certain that there will be a “before and after Covid-19” in terms of the time/innovation ratio, they are also convinced that this crisis increases the need to establish and retain health companies and expertise within France, in order to guarantee access to care for patients and the availability of the necessary products and equipment for care providers. Hence, their role is vital in the current national landscape.

Press contact:

Atlanpole Biotherapies (Pays de la Loire and Western Regions): Pascale Barto – 06 74 29 84 06

BioValley France (Eastern Region): Julie Fend – 06 34 84 37 13

Eurobiomed (Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regions): ALIZE RP – Caroline Carmagnol et Najette Chaib – 06 64 18 99 59 / 06 18 38 11 14

 Lyonbiopôle (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region): Monet + Associés (Agency) for Lyonbiopôle: Laura Ducros – – 06 29 86 13 75, Mélanie Da Rui – – 06 58 98 85 75

Medicen (Ile-de-France Region): Yvon Chagué – 06 89 59 46 05

Clubster NSL (Hauts-de-France Region): Julia Plaia –