Biotech and Pharmaceuticals sector in France

In France, sales of pharmaceutical products totalled €52 bn in 2012, which represents 4.8% of the world market. The annual average consumption of pharmaceutical products amounts to €532 per person.

Market overview

The biopharma sector is made of:

  • world leaders/large companies such as Sanofi, Sanofi Pasteur and Biomérieux

  • innovative SMEs,

  • world-class public/private scientific research expertise.

36 companies were listed in 2012.

  • 257 pharmaceutical firms and 250 biotech firms in 2012

  • The industry employed 101,900 people, including 21,000 in R&D in 2012

  • 10,2% of sales revenue dedicated to R&D

  • Funds raised in 2012: €364 million (increase of 27% compared to previous year)

Key government initiatives

  • World-class competitiveness clusters: Medicen (Paris), LyonBiopole (Lyon), Alsace Biovalley (Strasbourg)

  • R&D tax credit scheme. This facilitates your entry to the French market.

  • €50 million put into new fund raising government initiatives created in 2013.

Key opportunities

1. Many opportunities for future growth:

  • novel approaches to patient care;

  • “grey-gold” market with an ageing population;

  • emerging technologies (platform technologies, micro/nanotechnologies and stratified/personalised medicine);

  • many industry and academia collaboration projects and partnerships.

2. Fast growing/high-value segments:

  • Preventive and therapeutic vaccines (number 2 world leader: Sanofi Pasteur)

  • Diagnostics/theranostics (world leader: BioMérieux)

  • Animal health products (world leader: Mérial)

  • 39 biomanufacturing sites

  • Personal care/cosmetics: France is a world leader with L’Oréal and Pierre Fabre

  • Generics and biosimilars

  • Non-pharmaceutical products/OTCs

3. Become a Research Tax Credit approved R&D organisation: this is a door-openiner to becoming part of the supply chain.

4. Reply to business opportunities: these can be found at UKTI France

5. Contact the New Technologies UKTI team regularly:

– to organise meetings with them when they attend events in the UK

– for advice on events in France and regarding the possibility to use their premises for business meetings while in Lyon.

Latest export opportunities – Biotech and Pharmaceuticals

Latest export opportunities – France

Getting into the market

  • Official certification and/or CE-marking necessary.

  • Easy communication: English is widely spoken in this sector.

  • Key elements of company/product information and USPs to be ideally translated into French.

More about doing business in France


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

  • John Hall, Life Science Senior Trade AdvisorBritish Trade & Investment Office Lyon Tel: +33 (0)4 72 62 99 55 or

  • Anne-Marie Coffy, Project ManagBritish Trade & Investment Office LyonTel: +33 (0)4 72 62 99 60 or

Contact your local international trade team


Innovation Days 2013

France – Paris,7-9 October 2013 or


France – Orléans, 8-9 October 2013

ECCP – European Cancer Cluster Partnering

France – Toulouse,14-15 October 2013

Latest events – Biotech and Pharmaceuticals

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals
Countries: France
Export Action Plan