Paris - October 9th, 2015 - AFM-Telethon and the « SPI - Sociétés de Projets Industriels » equity fund, headed by Bpifrance as part of the Investments Program for the Future, have decided to co-fund the creation of the largest European center for the development and manufacturing of gene and cell therapies, which will reach a planned size of 13.000 m² in Evry, France in 2019.
This project aims both at creating an industrial production hub and at completing development of gene and cell therapy products. This new site will be launched with a view to mastering the production of innovative biotherapies in France in order to meet the needs of the AFM labs as well as those of multiple academics and other biotechnology companies by providing an industrial partner for the manufacturing of their products covering clinical as well as post registration needs.
This will amplify the efforts of AFM-Telethon for delivering curative treatments to patients, by enabling their production at industrial scale and facilitating their reach to market. Indeed, with the first proof of efficacy being demonstrated for these innovative therapies, constructing facilities for industrial applications is the next major step to make them available to as many patients as possible. Creating this future reference player also is an opportunity to leverage the excellence and lead of French research in this field, to address successfully the industrialization phase for innovative biotherapies, and to provide a source of potentially major economic returns.
The new company will have as its majority shareholder AFM-Telethon, holding 54% of its shares at inception. The firm will have sufficient funding to launch its industrial manufacturing facilities and support development of innovative biotherapies. AFM-Telethon will contribute know-how and intellectual property crucial to develop this activity and additionally will invest 36 million euros in cash. Bpifrance will invest 84 million euros as part of the Investment Program for the Future.
This contribution from the SPI fund fully fits into its investment policy for accompanying and accelerating the industrialization of technology, and creating a reference industrial player in a cutting edge sector, for rare diseases as for frequent ones, with the potential to create 300 jobs directly.
For AFM-Telethon, an association affiliating patients and their families, this is a new step forward to achieve its historical goal: TO CURE. This will allow provision to patients of the first gene and cell therapy treatments for diseases which today have no cure. AFM-Telethon moves into this phase in line with its corporate values and commitment to serve patient needs first and foremost.
Laurence Tiennot-Herment, Chairman of AFM-Telethon: « Since we created the association, our goal has never changed: to cure. Federating patients and their parents, we are committed to defeating rare diseases long considered incurable. Thanks to the public involvement in the annual French Telethon, we have funded many studies and created translational research institutes able to develop innovative therapies and conduct clinical trials up to proof-of-efficacy. Thanks to this unrivaled firepower, clinical trials have multiplied and the first investigational drugs have arisen. We must continue our struggle until the end and guarantee to the greatest number of patients an access to these innovative medicines, at a fair and contained price. Therefore, it's with real pride, and by leveraging our unique expertise, that we are committed to proceed further with this next step to gene-medicine, along with BpiFrance.»
Magali Joessel, SPI fund Director at Bpifrance : "Right from the start, the SPI fund has worked on this project, which is most important to us, along with AFM-Telethon teams in order to have it emerge. Indeed, it's both about helping AFM-Telethon to achieve its mission and enabling the developement of a leading player that builds up a new economic sector and creates many jobs. Cell and gene therapies are very promising technologies, and a final response to several diseases incurable up to now."
About AFM-Telethon :
AFM-Telethon, which federates patients and their parents, is dedicated to curing some rare genetic diseases considered incurable for a long time. Committed to biomedical research and development of treatments, as well as in helping patients and their families, it's recognized to be of public utility.
Thanks to the unique popular involvement in the annual French Telethon, the association has become a key player in biomedical research for rare diseases in France and worldwide. In order to make treatments available to patients quicker, it created the Biotherapies for Rare Diseases Institute which gathers four international leading research laboratories: Genethon and Atlantic Gene Therapies in gene therapy for rare diseases, I-stem in research and development of therapies based on pluripotent stem cells, and the Insitute of Myology working on diseases affecting muscles. It currently funds 37 clinical trials (running or projects) in rare genetic disorders affecting the eye, blood, brain, immune system, muscles... Through its Genethon research lab, AFM-Telethon stands out through its unique ability to develop, produce and test its own innovative gene-based medicines.
More information : http://www.
About the SPI fund, "Société de Projets industriels" :
This fund is headed by Bpifrance on behalf of the French State as part of the Investment Program for the Future. It's intended to support industrial businesses that are the most promising in terms of business value and job creation in new economic directions.
It invests equity capital as a sensible investor in companies which have projects in manufacturing sectors chosen based on their growth potential, current industry positioning and contribution to energy and/or ecological transition. Thus it's one of the leverage to finance a new step forward to industrialization in France
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