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Stem Cells : Business at the Frontier of the Science

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-09-22

On top of main scientific stakes, embryonic stem cells research has also great economical outlets. But how French laboratories can compete with counterparts subjected to a legislation less restrictive ?

On the 9th of March of this year, Barack Obama relaunched the competition. Behind this science race, there is money to be made. In the arena of stem cell research, the United States wants to lead the pack.


In France, stem cell research is still waiting to get off the ground.

According to Mr Amir-Aslani, "Countries like the US or the UK have an advantage over France. The big pharmaceutical laboratories can sign contracts with research centres. These don't have the same restreints as their French counterparts."


Still, French laboratories are trying to get a piece of the pie. In Evry, in the South of the country, the I-Stem laboratory is one of the first to tackle stem cell research. Its director, Marc Peschanski, puts the blame for a slow start on the French lack of support for research.


Luckily for these French laboratories, foreign companies have arrived on the scene. This laboratory, I-Stem, has now got together with Roche. The Swiss pharmaceutical giant handed a 7,5 million Euro cheque to I-Stem. In exchange, the French laboratory has agreed to train the teams at Roche. This way, they get to take part in an international, and very competitive sector.


Swiss companies aren't alone in the stem cell therapy industry. The US, the UK, and China are players too. French researchers are still trying to get in the game and in order to do so, they are forced to look abroad.



A report by Stéphanie Paviet and Eric Josset.









Date created : 2009-09-22