R&D and production of medicines : France in the best european, but…

What are the leaders of the pharmaceutical chain in Europe, from the discovery to the output of health products ? The consulting firm Roland Berger, published on Wednesday, October 18 a study comparing the tissue pharmaceutical of seven european powers (France, Germany, United States, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland). If France is still the 5th pharmaceutical market in the world, and the 2nd in Europe, its place in the research and manufacture of drugs is less obvious. Decryption.

A tissue of companies important in biotechnology

France 1.112 businesses in the tissues pharmaceutical (by adding the manufacturers of medical devices), with 146 employees on average per company. A mesh less important than in Germany (1.876 companies employing 247 people on average) and the United Kingdom (1.610 companies, with 174 employees), but internationally recognized. In fact, the number of sites approved by the FDA, a sesame in order to manufacture drugs or active ingredients sold in the United States, a market number 1 of the drug, climbs to 167 in the Hexagon. It is more than its neighbour in the uk (150). Germany is the european leader in this field with 227 sites benefiting from this recognition.

Other good news: the number of innovative enterprises. The concentration of biotech firms in france is stronger than that of these two neighbors. Biomedicines, used more and more (new anti-cancer,…), are particular for targeted therapies, a strategy in which the laboratories are now accelerating.

At the cutting edge in the clinical trials, but few products developed

There is another domain in which France has surpassed its neighbours, proof of the good position of France in the R & D and the recognition of the international character of its hospitals : the clinical trials. In 2016, 1.672 clinical trials were carried out on the territory. This is 45% higher than in Germany and 38% more than in the United Kingdom. And 49% of these trials in France are in phase III, as pointed out in the Leem, at the start of the year. This is the last phase before a potential marketing. A demanding stage, during which it is necessary to show the effectiveness of the treatment, and the benefits greater than the risks.

Despite the profusion of clinical trials, France is lagging behind compared to Germany and the United Kingdom in regard to the number of therapeutic products in development. There are 155 of them in Hexagon, against 262 for his neighbor germanic and 239 for the british territory.

A return on investment disappointing in the production, the better R and D

The study of Roland Berger highlights other pitfalls. Only 43% of the health-related industries located in France hold an activity of production of therapeutic products. This is less than in Germany (53%), Switzerland (45%) and Italy (54%). For the firm, this can be explained by a tax (property tax) heavy coupled with a cost of labour high. In clear, the return on investment would be disappointing in the Hexagon. Roland Berger estimated at 178 million euros on a site of average production at the end of ten years. This is less than in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland (202 to 301 million euros, depending on the country). And France suffers for the production of new therapies for commercialization. As explained by KPMG in June, it is experiencing a significant delay in the manufacture of biological medicines.

Conversely, the return on investment in R & D over the same period on the French territory is more satisfying than the european average.A R & D facility y would bring in an average of 46 million euros. It is more than in Germany and the United Kingdom (respectively 23 and € 44 million), but less than in Spain (€66 million). The good performance of France in this domain is mainly explained by the existence of the research tax credit, judge Roland Berger. For memory, this mechanism allows the company investing in R and D of a large subsidy (30% of research expenditure less than or equal to 100 million euros).

Attractiveness: France is in bad shape, according to the consulting firm

And in the future ? The report adds a hint of pessimism, holding that France would have difficulty in attracting investment. In spite of its good performance in R & D and clinical research, France is a country’s overall lack of attractiveness to international, judge Roland Berger, which has taken into account multiple criteria. It ranks the country 10th, ahead of the United Kingdom and Germany for its infrastructure, and behind Switzerland. But regarding the attractiveness in general, taking into account the criteria of innovation (ability to innovate) and competitiveness (12 factors taken into account, including the quality and the structure of institutions, education,…), it gives a score of 4.6 on a 10-to France, and the class behind these three countries, as well as Spain and Ireland.

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