French government launches new biotech fund
Paris - The French government has initiated a new fund to ease the chronic capital shortage of the country's biotech companies. The measures foresee to allocate Euro150 million annually to VCs that target companies, which have been identified as innovative and most likely to bring new products to the market. The fund termed “Le Fonds de Fonds Technologique (FFT)” is also supported by the European Investment Bank with Euro50 million. The government hopes that the fund will bolster biotechnology in France, which lags in terms of mature companies behind other European countries like the UK, Switzerland, Germany or the Scandinavian region.
Experts welcomed the initiative and stated that the new FFT fund could prove to be significant if the money is channeled to the few companies in France that really develop innovative products. “The FFT fund is a great step, but not sufficient. We need to give investors fiscal incentives, such as tax breaks, to invest in biotech,” said Caroline Carmagnol of France Biotech. Together with specialized venture capitalists the spokeswoman of France Biotech calls on granting tax breaks for investments in small high-tech companies. According to France Biotech investors boosted the industry with Euro155 million last year - a sharp decline from the Euro230 million in 2002.