Paris attracts millions of tourists to see some of the world’s most iconic monuments: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame… but it also attracts a lot of biotechs. Here are 15 of the most successful biotech companies in Paris.
Paris has arguably the biggest biotech cluster in Europe, with a wide range of applications, from drug development and medical devices to synthetic biology and green energy. To start making sense of Paris’ biotech landscape, here is a list of the 15 biotech companies in Paris that you should definitely know.
As usual, the list in no particular order. Enjoy!
Cellectis is developing a next generation of CAR T-cell therapy, a form of cell therapy for cancer that has shown impressive remission rates in patients with severe forms of cancer for whom conventional therapies have failed.
In particular, Cellectis is developing an off-the-shelf version of CAR-T cells, in which the cells are derived from donors instead of the patient, saving money and time. The company has also developed a mechanism to make the therapy safer by switching off the cells when side effects become life-threatening.
With three off-the-shelf therapies already in clinical trials, one of them licensed to Servier, Cellectis is the most advanced player in the field. The company trades on the NASDAQ and Euronext Paris stock exchanges with a market cap over €1Bn.
DBV Technologies was the first French Biotech to be listed on the NASDAQ back in 2014. Today, it has a market cap of over €1Bn. The company is developing a skin patch that could help children with life-threatening food allergies by exposing them to controlled amounts of the substance that provokes their allergy.
DBV’s most advanced treatment is for peanut allergies. After completing a Phase III trial, the company is now in discussions with the FDA to seek approval for the therapy. Another treatment for milk allergy showed promising results in a Phase I/II study earlier this year.
GenSight Biologics is developing gene therapies to treat inherited forms of blindness. The company’s most advanced treatment is intended for Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, a rare mitochondrial disease that causes irreversible loss of vision.
A recent Phase III trial showed that GenSight’s therapy for LHON improved sight. Despite the strong placebo effect seen in the trial, the company is now seeking approval for the treatment in Europe and the US backed by several key opinion leaders.
GenSight is not the only company in Paris in this space. Horama and Eyevensys are also two remarkable Parisians working in gene therapy for blindness.
Enterome is developing treatments that target bacteria of the gut microbiome, which in the last decade has been increasingly been linked to human health. Specifically, the company’s drugs target the interaction between the microbiome and the immune system.
Enterome’s most advanced program is aimed at treating Crohn’s disease by inhibiting a bacterial gene involved in the inflammation of the gut. A second candidate consists of bacterial antigens that activate the immune system to attack glioblastoma cancer cells.
Enterome’s technology has attracted a partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb in the area of immuno-oncology. The company also partnered with Nestlé Health Science to create a company that focuses on developing microbiome diagnostic tests that could help determine which patients are most likely to benefit from treatments that target the microbiome.
Abivax is one of the players that is closest to launching the first functional cure for HIV — one that does not wipe out the virus completely but leaves people living with HIV healthy and medication-free.
Abivax’ therapy inhibits the ability of the HIV virus to replicate its RNA and produce more copies of itself. But its most important feature is that it can target the reservoir of HIV virus particles that “hide” inactive within infected human cells.
Abivax is currently planning a Phase IIb trial to confirm the long-term effects of this drug in HIV-positive people. If all goes well, the drug will be tested in a final Phase III trial by 2020.
Global Bioenergies is working with big names like Repsol, Audi and L’Oréal for the development of a more sustainable process to produce isobutene and other chemicals that are essential for the manufacturing of fuels, plastics and cosmetics.
The company is in the process of scaling up a method that uses bacterial fermentation to transform waste material into valuable chemical compounds. It currently has a demo plant to process food crop waste at the ton scale. Global Bioenergies is also working on scaling up processes that use wood and industrial gases as a starting material, which have a reduced cost and cause a bigger environmental impact.
Nanobiotix is developing nanoparticles that are able to amplify and focus radiotherapy in patients with cancer. In a recent Phase II/III trial in patients with soft tissue sarcoma, the nanoparticles increased the percentage of patients that had a complete response to radiotherapy.
With a €280M market cap on Euronext Paris, Nanobiotix is running several clinical trials with its technology in multiple types of cancer, including head and neck, hepatocellular, liver, rectal and prostate cancer.
OSE Immunotherapeutics seeks to modulate the immune system with the intention to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases and rejection of a donated organ.
Its most advanced treatment consists of a combination of 10 fragments of tumoral antigens that stimulate T cells to attack cancer cells that express at least one of these antigens. It is in Phase III trials for non-small cell lung cancer and in Phase II to treat pancreatic cancer in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor.
Earlier this year, OSE signed a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that could reach up to €1.1Bn for the development of a new checkpoint inhibitor antibody. In its autoimmune pipeline, OSE has partnered with big pharma like Janssen and Servier.
Neovacs is developing vaccines against a wide range of autoimmune diseases. To treat them, the company’s approach consists in immunizing the patient against the inflammatory proteins that are overproduced in patients with an autoimmune disease.
Neovac’s vaccine recently showed promise for the treatment of lupus in a Phase II trial and the company is now planning a Phase III. The company is also running a Phase IIa trial in a rare autoimmune disease affecting the skin called dermatomyositis, and is doing preclinical work on a vaccine for type 1 diabetes.
Carmat has developed a fully artificial heart intended for patients that have suffered end-stage heart failure. The company is currently running a clinical trial implanting the hearts in patients in France, Denmark, Prague and Kazakhstan.
Despite a temporary halt in this clinical trial that was lifted last year, Carmat is optimistic that the device could receive approval in Europe in 2019. Listed on Euronext Paris, the company has a market cap of €180M.
DNA Script is developing a new method of synthesizing DNA that has the potential to significantly reduce the time it makes to make custom DNA sequences in the lab. To replace the traditional chemical synthesis, the company engineers the polymerase enzymes that are responsible for synthesizing DNA in cells.
As reading DNA has become much faster and affordable in the last years, writing DNA has become a bottleneck. Faster DNA synthesis will contribute to reducing the price and enabling more applications, from synthetic biology to using DNA as data storage.
Founded in 2014, the company raised €11M in a Series A fundraising last year and has received two grants from Bpifrance.
Eligo Bioscience is developing a brand new approach to kill specific harmful bacteria without affecting the rest of the human microbiome, which is essential for our health. To do so, it uses bacteriophage viruses to deliver the gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 inside specific bacteria. Once there, CRISPR can recognize whether the bacteria carry a particular pathogenic gene and, in that case, cut its DNA to kill the bacteria.
Founded in 2014, Eligo closed its first fundraising round last year with a total of $20M (€18.5M) that will help the company bring these “CRISPR nanobots” to a first clinical trial in humans.
Gecko Biomedical has developed a biodegradable surgical glue that draws inspiration from the adhesives geckos use to stick to walls. The material, which received approval last year, can improve the closing of wounds after surgery through a light activation system that lets surgeons control the procedure more accurately.
Founded in 2013, Gecko has so far raised almost €40M and is now working on bringing to market a series of new applications for its technology, including 3D bioprinting and regenerative medicine.
Ynsect is trying to revolutionize food. How? By farming insects. The company’s goal is to address the shortage of food that is expected by 2050, when the human population reaches close to 10 billion.
As our demand for meat and fish increases, Ynsect aims to use insects to source the proteins and fat needed for animal feed and relieve part of the huge toll that feeding them puts on the environment. The company has already launched products for aquaculture and for pets such as cats and dogs.
Lysogene was founded in 2009 by Karen Aiach after her daughter was diagnosed with Sanfilippo syndrome, a rare disease of the central nervous system. There is no treatment for Sanfilippo beyond palliative care, and Lysogene aims to find a cure using gene therapy that is delivered directly into the brain.
The company is now gathering data to support the start of a Phase II/Phase III clinical trial that could lead to the approval of the therapy. With the help of a small IPO on Euronext Paris last year, the company is also funding a second gene therapy directed at another rare disease called GM1 gangliosidosis.
Cellnovo has created a wireless system to help patients with type 1 diabetes monitor their sugar levels and determine the insulin dosing delivered over time. In a clinical trial this year, the company showed that this partially automated system can reduce events of low blood sugar, which can be life-threatening, by up to 39% — with the highest benefit for younger patients.
Cellnovo is now tackling the development of a fully automated system where the amount of insulin needed is determined automatically, in collaboration with Imperial College, the Diabeloop consortium and the Horizon2020 program.
As you can see, Paris is a fertile ground for biotech. To find more biotech companies in Paris, have a look at the over 70 companies listed on the Labiotech Map. And if you know of any other companies worth including in this list, let us know!
This article was originally published in April 2016 authored by Denise Neves Gameiro. It has since been updated to reflect the latest advances of the companies featured.
A previous version included Deinove, which has offices in Paris but is based in Montpellier.
Images via Shutterstock