France challenges EU approval process for GMOs


Brussels/Paris – The French EU presidency is challenging the current EU process for market authorisation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). At the beginning of the French term, environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo announced that a new ad-hoc committee will define additional criteria for the risk assessment procedure carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

In addition to the scientific evaluation of whether GMOs pose a potential danger to human health or the environment, France and other GMO-sceptic EU member states are seeking to implement an assessment of the socio-economic impact of GMO acreage, its usefulness, and an improved examination of its long-term effects on the environment. Borloo’s announcement was accompanied by demands from some EU member states to permit national market bans on GMO acreage. Experts expect another de facto-GMO moratorium if the new procedures are given the green light by the Commission. The Commission, however, which had already established an expert group to review its GMO policy, showed no interest in changing the current approval system. While France and GMO-sceptic governments have sought to weaken EFSA to gain more control over the assessment process that precedes GMO market approval, the Commission has strengthened EFSA’s position.

Commission stands behind EFSA

“France’s move is intended to nullify the meaningful separation of scientific and political decisionmaking on GMOs,” EU insiders told EuroBiotechNews. “Once the addition of political topics to the risk assessment prodedure leads to a situation where the EFSA appears to be undecided, GMO sceptics will say: ‘Look, there’s dissent over the safety of GMOs.” The battle that GMO-sceptic member states are waging against the current system of GMO approval and EFSA, which has yet to reject a market application on scientific grounds, will come to a head in December. One week before Christmas, EU environment
ministers will ask EU heads of state to change the criteria for GMO risk assessment. At the same time, EFSA is expected to publish a scientific opinion on the safety of npt2, an antibiotic marker used in BASF Plant Science’s GM potato Amflora (see p. 10). If positive, the scientific statement, which was requested by the Commission, will lead to the first approval for commercial acreage of a GM crop in Europe since 1998. EU insiders believe the Commission systematically prepared EFSA for the attack under the French presidency, and say the authority was told to update its guidelines
for GMO risk assessment before France took over. EFSA has also moved to address criticism about transparency; in June, the authority invited experts to lend their expertise to its decisions.



Minneapolis/Banzancourt – Bioamber Inc. is one step closer to the environmental summit. The company's goal is to establish sustainable, "green" chemistry on an industrial scale. The French/US enterprise has now scaled up its...



Sophia Antipolis/ Madison – French NicOx S.A. and the global eye health specialist Bausch & Lomb have announced positive top-line results from their phase 2b dose finding study with BOL-303259-X, a nitric oxide-donating version...



Paris/Barcelona – French pharma company Sanofi strengthens its ties with the Spanish research institution CGR (Center for Genomic Regulation) in Barcelona. CGR stated on 12 March that the two partners agreed upon three years of...



Lyon – The sale of 1.6 million shares brought in €25.3m for French Adocia SAS during its IPO on the Euronext Paris. The price of €15.88 values the diabetes specialist at €96.1m at the upper end of the bookbuilding range. Late...



Pointing to a new study on Syngenta’s GM maize Bt11, France’s Environment Ministry has asked the European Commission to suspend authorisation for the use of the MON810 maize sold by US agri­biotech giant Monsanto as well. The...



Cambridge - Genzyme will shut the doors at its Cambridge R&D site by the end of the year, with up to 60 employees expected to lose their jobs. The move is part of an ongoing global restructuring of R&D by Sanofi, who purchased...



Lille – Shares of the French diabetes specialist Genfit S.A. almost doubled when the company published results of its Phase II study with the PPAR alpha and delta modulator GFT505. The compound has met the co-primary and...



Shares of the French diabetes specialist almost doubled when the companypublished results of its Phase II study with the PPAR alpha and deltamodulator GFT505. The compound has met the co-primary and secondaryendpoints while...



Bagneux - DBV Technologies is planning an IPO on Euronext Paris. The French pharmaceutical group specialising in the treatment of allergies was founded in 2002. DBV's proprietary technology Viaskin is used to administer an...



Berlin/Paris – Sanofi Pasteur has licensed a yeast strain from German Organobalance to produce vaccines. With the deal, the vaccines division of the French drugmaker will gain exclusive access to a modified strain of...

Displaying results 1 to 10 out of 268

1-10 Next >

© 2007-2016 BIOCOM


Current issue

All issues

Product of the week


Stock list

All quotes


  • NORDIC NANOVECTOR (N)31.90 NOK12.72%
  • VITA 34 (D)4.46 EUR5.69%


  • MOLOGEN (D)1.80 EUR-6.74%
  • DIAXONHIT (F)0.38 EUR-5.00%


  • DIAMYD MEDICAL -B- (S)7.20 SEK66.7%
  • KARO BIO (S)41.60 SEK35.1%


  • BIONOR PHARMA (N)0.44 NOK-25.4%
  • MOLOGEN (D)1.80 EUR-21.7%
  • WILEX (D)1.50 EUR-13.3%


  • NICOX (F)10.18 EUR435.8%
  • SAREUM HOLDINGS (UK)0.78 GBP254.5%
  • GENMAB (DK)1103.00 DKK80.8%


  • BB BIOTECH (D)45.05 EUR-83.2%
  • EVOCUTIS (UK)0.04 GBP-80.0%
  • CIRCASSIA LIMITED (L)92.75 GBP-71.7%

No liability assumed, Date: 26.08.2016


All Events