Biotech City to exploit French connections

By Robert Frank

Laval’s Biotech City announced last week that it has signed an agreement that will let a major international biotech publication—Biotech Finances—set up a bureau on-site here.

“We expect to be operating by August,” editor-in-chief Jacques-Bernard Taste told The Suburban in a telephone interview from Lyon, France. “It’s a way of bringing together francophone stakeholders in biotech business and finance.”

“The goal of this partnership is really to open up all of North America, not just Quebec,” enthused Biotech City director Jean-Marc Juteau about Biotech Finances’ new pied-à-terre in Laval. “We’re the hub for French biotech business in North America, so this is the best place to do it from and it was an easy fit. In return, Biotech Finances will help to heighten our visibility throughout the world.”

The print version of Biotech Finances reaches more than 5,000 biotech and meditech stakeholders. Its website is a repository containing more than 130,000 of information and an audio blog that reaches a worldwide audience of more than 580,000.

“Currently, about 85 percent are in France,” Taste explained, “with many in Belgium. Quebec is just starting up, and the intent is to grow there.”

He added that the Laval Biotech City bureau will initially employ a single correspondent, but could eventually grow larger.

“The market is currently dividing up by language,” Taste said. “The francophonie offers lots of opportunity—and potentially an advantage. With the demographic explosion in Africa, there is real and concrete potential for French to regain its position as the world’s first language during the coming half-century.”

“In biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, English is the main language because science is in English,” Juteau acknowledged. “But French remains a powerful asset because the language remains pervasive.”

Juteau plans to visit the Rhône-Alpes region of France this spring, to interest firms in Grenoble and Lyon in investing at Laval’s Biotech City and elsewhere in Quebec. His message though simple, is persuasive.

“It’s a great place to set up in North America,” he said.

Juteau added that the partnership with Biotech Finances—which is based in Lyon—ought to help to forge productive new relationships.

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