Biodistrict Lyon-Gerland: raising the curtain on an ambitious regional project (videos May 2014)

4 June 2014

Organising stakeholders in the life sciences sector around a regional project which is also an economic and urban development: this is the challenge for Biodistrict Lyon. Greater Lyon is relying on an integrated approach and is bolstered by the regional eco-system, coordinated by Lyonbiopôle, to build a showcase of life sciencesrivalling the leading cities in Healthcare and Biotechnologies worldwide.

Biodistrict Lyon: a nerve centre of life sciences

The history of life sciences is closely interwoven with the history of Lyon, a pioneer in the field of infectious diseases and immunology. At a time when social challenges tighten their grip on Healthcare and Biotechnologies, Lyon – also known for its long tradition in social sciences – now wishes to enhance this heritage on the international stage. As an incarnation of a shared ambition, Biodistrict Lyon is being developed on around 100 hectares located to the south of Lyon.

In this new equation, the patient has a central position in the innovation strategy, in which 4P medicine is at the heart of the values of those involved in Biodistrict Lyon. To strengthen its broad and inclusive positioning in Biotechnologies and Healthcare, Biodistrict Lyon can count on an exceptional concentration of players in the sector, including Sanofi, Merial, Genzyme and Aguettant. The judicious mix of major groups, promising start-ups, research laboratories and higher education establishments around a competitiveness cluster – Lyonbiopôle – is, with 5,000 jobs and 2,750 researchers, a fertile ground for innovation.

Biodistrict Lyon: a model of multi-disciplinary innovation

Biodistrict Lyon has a complete value chain - from pure research to the marketing of products and services. Driven forward by an active scientific community, Biodistrict Lyon attracts start-ups and major groups alike. The result? A multi-functional district which advantageously mixes its bio-production sites with decision-making centres, and start-ups and SME's with research and training infrastructures.

This geographical proximity facilitates networking between academic stakeholders and businesses. "Via the establishment of scientific working groups, we have created joint research programmes and are developing collaborative technological platforms," explains Jacques Samarut, president of the ENS in Lyon. Furthermore, the location of major groups and renowned laboratories close to higher educational establishments creates optimum recruitment conditions in this district.

Demolishing silo logics which stifle innovation and development, Biodistrict Lyon aims to encourage decompartmentalisation and public-private synergies around centres for exchanges and services. "The culture of acting together is one of the keys to the success of Biodistrict Lyon. Adjuvatis arose from this proximity," states Charlotte Primard, CEO of the specialised biotechnology start-up.

Biodistrict Lyon: bringing a lifestyle

Biodistrict Lyon is also a living space, boosted by an urban project which is to guarantee the development of the sector within a built neighbourhood. From incubators to vast real-estate programmes, Biodistrict Lyon has the capacity to welcome any business within the heart of an attractive and privileged environment. "Employees can travel to work on the metro, they have a multitude of places to eat and dedicated facilities for leisure activities after work," explains Stéphane Legastelois, director of Platine Pharma Services.

Biodistrict Lyon, which sees itself becoming an open and connected urban neighbourhood, can already count on an accessibility increased tenfold by the extension of the metro B line and the opening of the Raymond Barre bridge between Lyon Confluence and Lyon Gerland. Tomorrow, it will also have the Musée des Confluences, which is scheduled to open in late 2014.

By 2016, the Campus Sanofi Lyon project will bring together 1,600 employees in Biodistrict Lyon. For Sylvain Bouchard, director of the programme: "Work on the urban quality of the territory, to which Greater Lyon is committed, is a strength which employees need to be made aware of."

Biodistrict Lyon: radiating beyond borders

The life sciences sector is an economic and industrial development priority for the metropolis. "Despite the changes under way in the sector, major groups continue to invest massively in Lyon," Gérard Collomb is pleased to report. From its foundation of existing strengths, Biodistrict Lyon is set to give a further impetus to the development of the technologies of the future and to allow Lyon to rise to the TOP 10 flagship cities in Biotechnologies and Healthcare worldwide.

"We share a scientific culture and similar economic interests," affirms Stéphane Legastelois, director of Platine Pharma Services. Building on these shared ambitions, the stakeholders in the territory have now come together under a new banner, "Biodistrict Lyon", revealed on 4 June 2014. Its graphic design reflects the aims which have influenced the scope of the project and will allow all the stakeholders to communicate using the Biodistrict Lyon logo: a greater reach and increased visibility are key.

Jacques Samarut – "A bio melting-pot"

Interview with Jacques Samarut, president of the ENS in Lyon.



Charlotte Primard – "Blooming"

Interview with Charlotte Primard, CEO of Adjuvatis, a start-up in vaccine adjuvants.



Stephane Legastelois – "Booster"

Interview with Stéphane Legastelois, director of Platine Pharma Services, a business specialising in immunity analysis.



Sylvain Bouchard – "Here for health"

Interview with Sylvain Bouchard, director of the Campus Sanofi Lyon programme and director of tertiary establishments.