Country Reports : France: The French Pharma Revolution - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Country Reports : France: The French Pharma Revolution


Pharmaceutical Executive


Top fiscal incentives for research

Pécresse points out one of France's inarguable advantages. "In order to be more competitive, France has decided to simplify, amplify and secure the French research tax credit, known as the "Credit Impôt Recherche" (CIR). Thanks to this reform carried on in 2008, a company can get back 30% of its R&D investment in tax credits and even 60% when the R&D work is subcontracted to a public research laboratory. And eligibility of the R&D can be secured prior to begin work, within less than three months. Thanks to this reform, France is now recognized as one of the most competitive places for doing research in the OECD."

There are other signs that France is developing cooperation between public and private sectors. In 2008, Sarkozy launched the 2008-2012 Alzheimer Plan backed by a €1.6 billion ($1.92 billion) envelope. The plan promises to focus on medical, social and scientific aspects of the disease that affects one out of five men and one out of four women aged 85 and over.

Judith Greciet, president of Eisai France, a Japanese company present in France since 1990, recalls: "At the very beginning there was an inclination not to involve major pharmaceutical companies in the plan and make it an independent measure. The plan has succeeded in building up a very comprehensive approach to social and research issues in addition to epidemiological understanding of the disease. Today, the plan is obviously efficiently driven with operational objectives and we have seen concrete measures being taken, which is not always the case in such initiatives."

"While I understand the initial desire to keep it independent, I also feel we have a lot to offer in terms of practical research on the subject and real understanding on the disease. The fact that we have been running an institute for nearly ten years, in which many educational programs have been developed by the French major experts, makes us a strong partner, supporting the implementation of education measures in the area where we have expertise."

Launched by Sarkozy, the "Alzheimer Plan" is akin to the "Cancer Plan" launched by former French president Jacques Chirac. These national health priorities seem to be successful in attracting R&D development centers to France. Following the CSIS, Novartis announced the opening of an onco-development center in France, which will be the third largest worldwide in the group. According to Novartis France's Zagamé, "(the center) will also play the role of a European hub for research, bringing together researchers from all over the world. We will start with about 30 of them and eventually increase the number to between 50 and 80."

Very strong in France, present on most of the markets, prescription, vaccines, OTC or generics, Novartis has also been "one of the pioneers on biotech development and manufacturing," adds Zagamé. Today the Swiss company is expanding the product range of these facilities and developing a "center of excellence that will."


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