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Lyonbiopole takes stock of an unusual year and sets its priorities for 2021

Faced with the unprecedented health crisis that began in March 2020, Lyonbiopole was able to adapt and continue to support the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region’s health ecosystem. It demonstrated its ability to reinvent itself in order to maintain its activity but also, and above all, to provide the best possible support to those on the front line in the fight against this pandemic.


2020, a year synonymous with new synergies and agility for the cluster


In January 2020, Lyonbiopole and its partners launched the first World Hub in Veterinary Public Health, a strategic field strongly linked to global health issues, where one of the major challenges is the fight against animal diseases which are transmissible to humans (zoonoses). Faced with the COVID-19 crisis, in March 2020 Lyonbiopole immediately mobilised the resources across its ecosystem. This took the form of several actions: relaying the needs of the region’s hospitals, helping to identify manufacturers of masks and 3D ventilator parts, relaying information and aid from the State and local authorities, participating in dedicated working groups, etc. Aware of the need for solidarity in times of crisis, the cluster made itself fully available to its members and partners to help them cope. It also kept its BSL2 and BSL3 laboratories open during the pandemic, so that the manufacturers and academics who occupy them could continue to advance their R&D projects.


The cluster’s own activities have also been completely rethought and adapted to the context. During the first lock-down, Lyonbiopole organised dedicated webinars such as “Fiscal, social, contractual and real estate measures within the framework of Covid-19” and “Presentation of aid measures implemented by local authorities”. 


The cluster's calendar of events, although revised due to the health crisis, remained full throughout the year. In particular, in less than 12 weeks, Lyonbiopole jointly organised with Inova Software the very first global partnering event on COVID-19: #PartneringAgainstCOVID, which allowed more than 3,200 people from 80 countries to discuss future partnerships in the fight against the pandemic.


The cluster’s major events also took place, in a new form:


  • The Partnering Day was transformed into a virtual Partnering Week to enable as many people as possible to take part and exchange views at round tables on key topics for the health industries;


  • The Private Investment Day also took place virtually over two days, and allowed project leaders, company directors and investors to meet and exchange ideas, as it has done every year since 2009.


  • The International Congress on Immunotherapies & Innovations for Infectious Diseases (I4ID), in partnership with MabDesign and BIOASTER, also went digital. This year, it focused on topics related to COVID-19, as well as other challenges in the field of infectious diseases, such as vaccine immunity and antibiotic resistance.


A strategic shift and new collaborations on the agenda for 2021

2021 will be a year of change: Philippe Sans, who has been the cluster’s President since December 2020, has set himself, along with the management team, the first task of reviewing what the cluster has to offer, and its strategy. These changes are expected to be presented in the spring of 2021, when Lyonbiopole moves into its new premises.


Several ambitions for the year have already been confirmed:

  • Lyonbiopole will carry out work to promote a strategic field for French competitiveness in health: bioproduction. The cluster is participating in the French Bioproduction Tour, which will take place in Lyon on 9 March 2021. The French Bioproduction Tour is a tour of France jointly organised by 10 competitiveness clusters to present the strengths and specificities of each region in terms of bioproduction.


  • It also wanted to emphasise its regional roots in 2021, by reinforcing strategic partnerships with local entities, such as the Pôle des Technologies Médicales in Saint-Etienne and the i-Care LAB in Lyon.


  • Similarly, various actions will be carried out during the year to strengthen its collaborative work with the University Hospitals in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.


  • Finally, 2021 will mark the resumption of the projects planned for 2020 in terms of accelerating and financing companies in the region.



 Lyonbiopole’s key figures for 2020:


239 members including 200 SMEs
31 new structures became members of the cluster
70 scientific, technological and economic events organised, bringing together 6,000 participants
300 individual meetings organised with SME members
66 companies supported through eight international events
28 collaborative R&D projects financed, bringing the number of labelled and financed projects to 328 for a total of €1.16 billion, including €527 million in public aid since the cluster was created
€223M raised by the cluster’s members