Selected Article


The Evolution of the French Public Policy to Promote Biotech Innovation : The Case of Genomics


Working Paper

European Biotechnology companies and public policy-makers face to a number of crucial problems related to the development of Biotechnology in Europe : European industrial competitiveness, the relative under-exploitation of the European science base in Biotechnology, poor technology transfer mechanisms and difficulties in starting 'spin-off' firms. The aim of this paper on innovation in genomics and biomedical related biotechnologies is to study the relative impact of the different public policy in France compared to the action of the private non for profit sector. Public policies in favour of biotech have changed during the last ten years from a support of research in large firms to a support of SME's creation in biotech. At the same time, large non-for profit organisations such as CEPH (Human Polymorphism Research Center) and AFM (French Organisation Against Myopaty) create a new dynamic by initiating path breaking scientific and technical programmes. This new scientific space has been complementary to the public policy, but only to a certain extend. By studying the co-ordination mechanisms between the different organisations (non for profit organisations, public authorities, public sector research, Biotech SMEs and large firms, especially in the biomedical sector), this paper shows that the existing contradiction between the different tools to encourage biotech economic development can explain the poor development of biotech sector in France in the last few years. It also shows that the situation is getting better the last two years, especially in terms of firms' creation.