France is the fifth largest economy worldwide, and the second largest economy in Europe. The health outcomes in France are ranked among the best in the European Union, with spending on healthcare being around 11.5% of GDP, higher than the EU average. French organizations are more and more open to collaboration in research and development projects, however, these tend to be oriented towards Germany, UK, Italy and the United States. A strong network of health innovation clusters (les pôles de compétitivité en santé) are present in the different regions of France. Their main aims are to: stimulate innovation, support the development of SMEs, grow internationally, and to offer high level infrastructures.
Furthermore, France is at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Europe and is seeking international cooperation. As of March 2018, President Macron set out his plan to invest €1.5 billion in AI over the next five years, highlighting health as a priority area. Moreover, a strategy for a transformation in the healthcare system was launched: Ma Santé 2022. A strategy with a budget of €3.24 billion, of which €500 million is for digital transition. Further development of the digital transition in health was announced with the launch of the roadmap for digitalisation in health in 2019. The Covid-19 crisis has shown the importance of digital (tech) solutions, like AI. That’s why the government launched the Ségur de Santé in 2020, with €2 billion dedicated to digitalisation in the healthcare system.
The 3 biggest general trends:
- Digitalization: The French government has introduced reforms to promote the development of digital healthcare (telemedicine), including increased opportunities to use health data and the creation of a digital health space for each patient.
- Decentralization: Access to local healthcare needs to be improved, which includes the creation of regional professional health organizations (Communautés Professionenelles Territoriales de Santé). Existing CPTS solutions include multidisciplinary healthcare centers (Maisons de santé pluridisciplinaires).
- Empowering patients: The active role patients play in their own treatment needs to be reaffirmed. The National Health Strategy’s goal is to provide everyone with the means to find, assess and make use of available expertise in order to make informed decisions concerning their own health.
From the perspective of the Netherlands the following market trends are of interest:
> Digitalisation of healthcare
- Online patient and healthcare processes management (EHR, Mobile Healthcare Apps)
- Artificial Intelligence in health
- Noncommunicable diseases, specifically diabetes, cardiovascular disease.
- Geriatric diseases (Alzheimer)
- Wearables and medical devices
- Homecare – medical ‘home-use’ disposables
- Imaging and radiotherapy
> Hospital build – hospital renovation and modernization
Research and Innovation
- Development of key enabling technologies (especially AI) and medtech applied in health & care.
- Data infrastructure and interoperability, including development of digital tools.
- R&D in the field of chronic & rare/niche diseases, specifically in the field of oncology, Alzheimer, diabetes and endiometrioses, including in EU-context (e.g. Horizon Europe and French IPCEI proposal on Health). R&D in the field of vaccines.
- R&D and innovative solutions in the field of healthy ageing.
- Innovation in environmental health.
- Innovative solutions in the field of prevention, including link with agrofood (e.g. Nutriscore).
- One-Health: further development of (EU) policy and R&D&I on anti-microbial resistance (AMR) and the prevention of future pandemics..
- Strengthening strategic value chains, e.g. in the field of personal protective equipment and medicines (together with trade and possibly NFIA).
We do see a significant amount of international R&D cooperation projects between the Netherlands and France with applications in the health and care market. In EUROSTARS alone, we have seen around 48 SME R&D project collaborations since 2008. France is #6 of SME R&D partner countries (after Germany, Switserland, UK, Denmark and Sweden). EUROSTARS is an important instrument for SME R&D collaborations with French partners. This programme makes it possible to apply for funding for bilateral or multilateral research and innovation projects. France has also proposed an IPCEI (Important Project for Common European Interest) on Health, proposing investments in R&D&I in several areas (e.g. AMR, API’s and celtherapy). Keep an eye on the website of the Netherlands Entreprise Agency’s website (RVO.nl) for update on potential calls later in 2022.
Netherlands Enterprise Agency could be a valuable entrance point for companies and consortia with research and innovation ambitions with French partners. Because of it’s role as member of EUREKA network and national contact point for Horizon Europe and EU4Health, Netherlands Enterprise Agency has warm relations with Bpifrance and diverse institute NCPs . These connections can be used for matchmaking and discuss support opportunies.
When looking at the FDI trends France houses an interesting LSH cluster with potential to attract investment to the Netherlands. Several leading French companies are present in the Netherlands already. As part of the French the “Healthcare Innovation 2030” strategy, nearly €7 billion will be made available to promote innovative investments in healthcare.
An overview of strong sectors in France that are interesting to explore for investment are:
- Healthtech: A dynamic sector comprising 1,700 companies with nearly €1.8 billion in funds raised in 2019.
- Medical devices: France has many innovative startups and is Europe’s second leading market for medical devices.
- Connected healthcare: The French government is acutely aware of the importance of digital technology in the healthcare sector and so has placed it at the heart of its “Ma santé 2022” strategy.
- Medicinal products and vaccines: France is the world’s fifth largest market for medicinal products for human use and the fourth largest exporter of vaccines.
- Cancer treatment: France is a leader in cancer research; the Institut Gustave Roussy is Europe’s leading institute in the fight against cancer.
- Chronic diseases: France is renowned for its expertise and research excellence in the fight against chronic diseases such as diabetes, hepatitis and cardiovascular disease.
In France the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) has one location in Paris. This office serves as the first point of contact to support and promote investment opportunities for French companies looking to connect with the LSH eco-system in the Netherlands. This work is supported by the Invest in Holland LSH team. The Invest in Holland LSH team is a collaborative team of the NFIA, regional development agencies, several large cities and Holland International Distribution Council.
The Invest in Holland LSH team will focus on supporting French companies that will contribute to the societal challenges and solutions of the future and strengthen the Life Sciences & Health ecosystem in the Netherlands.
Pôle de compétivité are regional and inter-regional clusters promoting the development of collaborative projects in research and development that are particularly innovative. They are active in most activity sectors, and seven of these Pôles are focussed on LSH:
- Alsace Biovalley. Located in the Alsace region, accompanying, federating and animating the health sector of the Grand Est this cluster is dedicated to therapeutic innovations, both in drug development and medtech.
- Atlanpole Biotherapies. Based in the Pays de la Loire – Brittany – Center Val de Loire regions, this cluster focuses on biotherapy and co-ordinates the work of laboratories, companies and platforms for a public-private complete, relevant and competitive solution, on the bio-medicine value chain from target discovery to clinical evaluation.
- Cancer-Bio-Santé. This bi-regional cluster (Midi-Pyrénées and Limousin) is dedicated to oncology and ageing.
- Eurobiomed. Located in the Occitanie est and Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur regions, Eurobiomed focuses on translational and clinical research, technological innovation and health sector startups. It is a fusion of two former clusters: Eurobiomed (Montpellier) et Cancer Bio Santé (Toulouse) to create a health cluster of European level.
- Lyonbiopole. This cluster, located in Lyon, aims to support the following strategic areas: human medicine, veterinary medicine, in vitro diagnostics, medical devices and medical technologies.
- Medicen Paris Region. This cluster, situated in Paris, focuses on five strategic areas: biological diagnostics, diagnostic and interventional imaging, regenerative medicine and biomaterials, digital health and translational medicine.
- Nutrition-Santé-Longevity. NSL, located in Lille, focuses on two fast-growing markets: health nutrition and ageing.
- EURASANTé. Eurasanté is a development agency dedicated to tech transfer and business development in life sciences sector.
Most prominent NL value chains (Innovate, Trade & Invest)
1. Value chain The digital transformation of health and care. This value chain contains among other things the innovation and business development opportunities of digital (tech) solutions, like AI for the transformation in the healthcare system. Also data infrastructure and data sharing models are areas for bilateral and EU collaborations. Subtopics within this value chain: eHealth/Digital Health: products and services in the area of information and communication technology that contribute to the efficiency, effectiveness and digitalisation of the care sector (e.g. in the area of cost-effectiveness, interoperability and artificial intelligence).
Both France and the Netherlands have been highly investing in digitalization of the healthcare sector due to rising costs, the increasing and changing demand and lack of healthcare professionals. In France, like in the Netherlands, stakeholders are convinced care will gradually shift to the patients’ environment (rural areas, neighborhood and even their house), digital transformation is believed to put the patient in the center and bring the care to the patient in a cost-efficient way. France reserved 2 billion Euros to invest in the digitalization of their healthcare system as part of their healthcare strategy 2020-2030. Areas that show great potential for cooperation between the France and Netherlands are:
- Interoperability of systems: the Netherlands already has 91% of patient records digitized in 2020 and makes an interesting partner for France who shares a similar ambition.16 Discussions on bilateral and EU level are ongoing between both governments and have been accelerated by the pandemic (e.g. by the need for common Covid-19 QR-code). This is a strong base for further exchange and cooperation on the interoperability of systems and (research) data on bilateral and EU-level.
- Medical Imaging: the Netherlands has a strong position in medical imaging (with Philips as a driver for this development) and has built a strong international name in creating strong ecosystems of research, clinical and business organizations. This is also a priority for France, e.g. in the area of oncology and degenerative diseases and could be an area of cooperation.
- Key-enabling technologies in Health: Both France and the Netherlands are strengthening their expertise in the area of AI and blockchain in healthcare and are setting up national AI- and Health Data Hubs. This momentum calls for bilateral (and European) cooperation on R&D&I.
Several activities in these areas have already been put into action: sector study on digitalization of the LSH sector in France (2020) and several missions (economic mission AI in Health, Start-up mission on subtopic health, Data & Health innovation mission). The strategic bilateral opportunities within this domain are further explored and continuous effort are made to work towards a more structural cooperation with France on all levels (government, research and business).
16) Sector study “Digitalization of the LSH sector in France”, 2020, Digitalisation of the Life Sciences & Health Sector in France (rvo.nl)
2. Value chain Care Infrastructure. This value chain contains among other things the innovation and business development opportunities of hospitals and healthcare facilities of the future.
As announced in the “Ségur de la santé”, in July 2020, the French Government committed a massive investment of 19 billion euros (6 billion of which from the France Recovery Plan) in the French healthcare system. Indeed, it exceeds the previous health investment plans Hospital 2007 (6 billion euros) and Hospital 2012 (2.5 billion euros). These envelopes have been entrusted to the ARSs (Regional Health Agencies) for all areas of the health system so they can define a regional strategy on priority projects for the period 2021-2029 for their territories. These envelopes cover all fields – hospital, mental health, medico-social public or private - to give the flexibility to the players and to ensure that the response is adapted to the health needs of the territory. In short: 19 billion euros over ten years consisting of:
- 9 billion to finance major projects (renovation, construction, innovation), and day-to-day investment in health establishments,
- 6.5 billion to reduce hospital debt,
- 1.5 billion for the modernization of nursing homes,
- 2 billion for digital technology.
The strategic bilateral opportunities within this domain are further explored.
3. Value Chain One Health. This value chain addresses innovations in environmental health and innovative solutions in the field of prevention and AMR.
Both France and the Netherlands are investing in research in the field of One Health, largely accelerated by the Covid-19 Pandemic and its most likely origin. Both countries have initiated their own initiatives:
- Netherlands is building a program ERRASE (initiated by the WUR), focused on research on zoonoses and how to prevent future pandemics.
- France has set up PRE-ZODE, focused on research and capacity building in the area of zoonoses and the preventions of these diseases.
Both countries are seeking European scale partnerships for their initiatives, especially since the prevention of future pandemics as an international responsibility. Continuous effort are made to search synergy between the different national initiatives. Also the IPCEI on Health (mentioned here-above) proposed by the French includes a track on AMR and R&D&I on new antibiotics and alternatives. Later 2022 more info on potential calls will be shared.
The strategic bilateral opportunities within this domain are further explored.
Overview Milestones & Collective Activities to France
- Launch & publication of Market Report on France
- Seminar on market opportunities (Kansenseminar) in the French health sector
- French Delegation during the Health~Holland Visitors Programme
- Economic Mission to the Paris Healthcare Week and Lyon with Bruno Bruins (MoU Medicen & TFHC)
- Seminar on AI (during visit Bruno Bruins)
- Start-up mission to the AI for Health Conference
- AI for Health Conference
- French Delegation during the Health~Holland Visitors Programme
- Launch and publication Market study eHealth France
- Collective Holland Pavilion at SantExpo in Paris (cancelled due to COVID)
- Virtual AI Mission with State Secretary Mona Keijzer (25-27 January) and the NL AI Coalition with Data & Health being of the four priority themes: blog.
- NLFR Innovation mission Data & Health: cooperation opportunities in de framework of Long COVID, (23-24 November, Paris) : blog.
- Online Business Day France (25 November) with a focus on the opportunities region Hauts-de-France and a webinar dedicated to LSH opportunities in Hauts-de-France.
- Dutch-French Health & Medtech exclusive network event (1 December, Paris) at the occasion of “Hello Tomorrow Deep Tech Days”
The way forward
1. To further integrate a joint approach (public, private and knowledge) in an LSH roadmap for France and further prioritize strategic value chains for NL-France cooperation
2. To strengthen and deepen bilateral cooperation and concrete business opportunities with a focus on digitalization in healthcare; application of AI and other key enabling technologies in health & care and interoperability of data infrastructure and healthcare systems.
3. To explore (new) activities and policy exchange on prevention (incl. of future pandemics), one health and strategic value chains (e.g. medicines, PBM, vaccines).
4. To increase bilateral cooperation on R&D&I in the LSH sector, also in the context of European projects (like IPCEI).
Preferred actions for 2022
1. The TOP sector LSH, RVO and Embassy will look back and forward to create joint LSH multi annual strategy for France:
- Assemble and reassess the knowledge (studies) and trends of the past three years
- Prioritize the strategic value chains for further integrated bilateral investments and cooperation
- Map the relevant counterparts in France for policy, trade and innovation & research in the prioritized areas
- Verify the prioritized value chains with the Dutch sector stakeholders.
Digitalization in healthcare will remain focus and further investments in follow-up of activities in the area of AI application in healthcare and of the innovation mission on data & health in 2021 will be made, a.o.
- Facilitating study visits between NL and FR on data & health
- Supporting of joint research proposals on use cases (Long Covid) for interoperability of data
- Enabling further policy cooperation and discussion on EU data space
- Explore possibilities for a public private cluster on eHealth (via PIB/RVO)
Exploring of new opportunities for cooperation in prioritized value chains, support Dutch stakeholders with interest in France and actively represent the Dutch sector in France:
- Invite FR target groups to annual Holland Visitors Programme and World of Health Care congress
- Organise a mission/matchmaking as part of the multi-sectoral mission (DIO/RVO) or a BDC-mission for this sector to Hauts-de-France )
- Organize regular business coffee’s (zoom) for Dutch LSH entrepreneurs
- Partake in a start-up mission (e.g. Viva Tech) with LSH as subtheme and support LSH start-ups in follow-up.
- Partake in the CES roadshow for LSH start-ups with interest in France
- Continue active communication on the NL in FR and RVO and HH website on interesting development and opportunities in France.
Increasing bilateral cooperation on R&D&I in LSH by:
- Further support of bilateral/multilateral SME and PPP R&D cooperation (Mapping opportunities in HorizonEurope programme)
- Foster matches between NL-FR research fields (e.g. Oncology and Alzheimer)
- Foster matches between innovation clusters (after mapping) and further develop existing MoU’s.
- Supporting and participating in IPCEI Health proposal of France.
Digitalisation of the Life Sciences & Health Sector in France - Opportunities for FR-NL collaborations to improve health and healthcareTwo case studies: Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes