The healthcare industry and medical innovation in France

15 December 2023

What is the healthcare industry sector?

The Healthcare Industries and Technologies (HIT) sector comprises French companies involved in R&D (research and development), manufacturing and marketing of healthcare products and services. The French healthcare industry includes digital companies dedicated to healthcare, medical devices, pharmaceutical laboratories and in vitro diagnostics.

France boasts over 400 healthcare industrial sites throughout the country, including 260 pharmaceutical laboratories.

This represents 1,343 medical device manufacturers (92% of which are SMEs) and 100 companies specializing in in vitro diagnostics (90% of which are SMEs).

3,100 companies (455,000 jobs and 90 billion euros in sales (40% export)) operate in the French healthcare industry ecosystem.

Digital healthcare companies innovate in healthcare software publishing, telemedicine solutions development, application design, healthcare data analysis and clinical decision support.

Many so-called “spin-off” start-ups thrive on the technological results of research, often in collaboration with a university or scientific laboratory. 

These biotechs (technologies and applications using living materials as part of scientific research) and medtechs (technologies designed to treat and improve patients’ lives) are working to develop over 500,000 medical technologies.

Major challenges facing the healthcare sector

A highly controlled and regulated sector, the healthcare industry is boosted by growing global demand.

The challenges facing companies in the French healthcare industry include their ability to adapt, maintain their technological excellence, develop disruptive innovations and expand the healthcare ecosystem in the face of increasing competition, particularly from Asian countries.

A highly innovative and ambitious industrial fabric, France’s healthcare industry is capturing great growth opportunities, particularly with the exploitation of healthcare data thanks to AI (Artificial Intelligence), connected objects and multiple medical technologies.

Medical devices & deep tech

A medical device is a “mechanical” (non-metabolic, non-pharmacological and non-immunological) healthcare product used for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, or to provide assistance to patients and healthcare professionals; for example: software, mobile applications, implants, medical equipment, etc.

The manufacture and marketing of medical devices are strictly regulated, and each product must be certified according to specific regulations, with CE marking for European conformity.

In the wake of the health crisis, the medical device industry is growing on national and international markets, thanks to a dynamic and diversified ecosystem:

  • 30.7 billion euros in sales
  • 10 billion euros in export sales
  • 1,440 companies, 93% of them SMEs, employing more than 88,000 people
  • 30 listed companies (including 28 SMEs)
  • More than 1.4 billion euros in fundraising
  • 31% of start-ups specializing in e-health DM (digital solutions, connected medical devices)

Healthcare and disruptive technologies

As part of the government’s “contrat stratégique de filière”, two structuring projects have been launched to boost industrial productivity thanks to disruptive technologies, create a dynamic economic fabric of start-ups and SMEs, offer comprehensive training in the technologies used in these new projects, and develop platforms to pool shared data.

  1. Bio-production and disruptive technologies

Bioproduction defines the production of biological molecules by living systems (macromolecules, proteins, hormones, antibodies, membranes, etc.). 

This biotechnology enables the treatment of pathologies that cannot be cured with chemical molecules, such as degenerative diseases and cancers. 

The innovative therapeutic protocols resulting from these biotechnologies (vaccines, gene therapy or cell therapy), enable companies in the healthcare industry to assert their technological excellence in this disruptive market.

  1. Artificial intelligence and healthcare

With one of the world’s largest healthcare databases, France continues to collect information thanks to its unique healthcare system (town doctors and clinical medicine). 

The French government has set up the Health Data Hub, giving innovative project developers secure access to this health data. The aim is to leverage data to boost French competitiveness in the field of artificial intelligence in the healthcare sector, particularly in the fields of specialized and precision medicine (oncology and immuno-inflammatory diseases).

Where to set up a healthcare start-up in France?

The Basque Invest team (publicly-funded support) specializes in business start-up support. This competent service helps startups in the medical industry to develop innovative projects based in a powerful ecosystem benefiting from solid technological and human resources.

The Ginkgo Biloba healthcare start-up incubator was created in the Basque Country by three Ramsay Santé group clinics. 

A veritable laboratory for medical innovation, Ginkgo Biloba offers young start-ups in the healthcare industry dedicated support to help them realize their projects and grow their business, as well as access to healthcare units and healthcare players.

Do you have a disruptive project related to the healthcare industry? Would you like to set up your company in the most start-up-friendly city in the world? You too can be part of the Basque Country’s start-up ecosystem!

Our experience in the healthcare industry enables us to offer publicly-funded support to entrepreneurs. We share our skills and expertise to optimize your R&D projects, strengthen your sales strategy and develop your professional network with funders.

The Basque Country is home to some of France’s leading companies in the healthcare industry.

  • Needle Concept, based in the Basque Country, is an expert in innovative medical techniques, specializing in needles for the injection of dermal fillers
  • BBraun, France’s leading employer in the medical deep tech sector, is a German group with operations in 64 countries, including the Basque Country. Its Saint-Jean-de-Luz industrial production site specializes in the design of products for enterostomy, postoperative drainage and urostomy.
  • Techno Flex (Technoflex), a company operating in the healthcare sector, is based in Bidart in the Basque country. It manufactures and markets medical devices for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries (flexible pouches). A leader in Europe, Technoflex also exports a considerable proportion of its production to the United States.
  • Renaudin, based in the Basque country, markets its products – generic medicines (drops, ampoules, syrups) – in 120 countries (particularly in Asian markets). In response to growing demand from hospitals, production has been expanded to include more specific, high value-added products such as vials, injectable ampoules and plastic bags.
  • The world’s leading medical data company, Sophia Genetics has been operating in France since 2018. Supported by Basque Invest, this startup from the Basque country, originally from Switzerland, is one of the most innovative startups in the pharmaceutical industry.

Do you have a project related to the healthcare industry, medical devices or digital health?

Contact François Applagnat, our healthcare industry expert.

Sources : Conseil National de l’Industrie ; Snitem (Syndicat national de l’industrie des technologies médicales) ; Biotech Info