LYON’S BIOTECHNOLOGIES ARE CENTER STAGE
With its reputation for excellence, Lyon has witnessed a number of advances in the biotechnologies sphere.
Following 1.5 billion euros of investment and 20 years of work, pharmaceutical giant Sanofi will begin marketing its vaccine against Dengue Fever at the end of the year. This viral infection is passed on by mosquitos and is still rife in Asia and Latin America, where 300 million people are infected. The investments made in its Neuville-sur-Saone (Rhone) production centre will enable Sanofi to produce 100 million doses each year, which puts them well ahead of their competitors.
Sanofi has also played a role in the ‘rise to power’ of Fab’entech by offering it the use of its production site. Since its creation in 2009, this Lyon start-up has worked on some major projects. In particular, in the space of 5 years, it has developed the first serum against avian flu H5N1 and is now preparing to market its serum against the Ebola virus. Fab’entech was able to draw from the density of expertise in Lyon’s bio system by working with Inserm, the Level 4 Biosafety Laboratory and the competitive cluster Lyonbiopôle. Today the firm is looking to develop in the United States and China and could potentially see its sales reach 50 million euros in the next 5 years.
Finally, another of Lyon’s flagship structures has some very interesting news. The P4, Lyon’s level 4 biosafety laboratory is Europe’s only virus research centre, founded in 1999 by the Mérieux family, it is a key player in the fight against Ebola in West Africa. In particular, it played a major role in the ‘Mobile Laboratory’ project, which made it possible to perform medical examinations in the field and to train African technicians. Currently working on several research projects, the level 4 biosafety laboratory will double in size at the end of this year, gaining a total surface area of 400 sq. m. This new extension and reconfiguration will enable it to begin experiments on bacteria, a first in the sphere of biotechnologies.