HealthTech plan: how to develop the French pool of innovative companies to promote major industrial successes?

BCG — Boston Consulting Group

Marie Humblot-Ferrero, David Parlongue, Olivier Wierzba, Fabien Hassan, et all

Paris, April 13, 2021

While the COVID-19 crisis is raising high expectations for innovation in health, BCG, Bio-Up, Bpifrance and France Biotech have worked together to produce avenues for action to remove the brakes that still prevent French start-ups from reaching their full potential.

These Health Tech companies, which we will call “healthtech”, have a role to play in the reindustrialization of France and in the strengthening of European sovereignty.

The state of play and the courses of action of the “HealthTech Plan: from the breeding ground to great successes”, are based on more than thirty-five testimonials from business leaders, sector experts, investment specialists and representatives. of public authorities.

Despite a promising breeding ground and a strong potential for public and private research, France is struggling to bring out health champions who will give it greater control over its production and create jobs.

  • Our country has many more listed Health Tech companies than Germany (61 against 40) and their capitalization has increased by almost 70% in one year. 
  • However, no French capitalization is above one billion euros against six in Germany, including two above ten billion.

However, critical size is necessary to trigger a dynamic favorable to innovation and allow the creation of value and lasting jobs. 

Benchmarking international hubs

By following the dynamics observed around the Boston hub in Massachusetts, biotechs and medtechs could represent 180,000 direct and indirect jobs in France by 2030, or 130,000 additional jobs compared to today.

Analysis of other international biotech “hubs” (San Francisco, Basel) reveals that rapidly growing companies have a ripple effect on others and enable a virtuous circle to be set in motion.

 Bringing out Tech Healthcare companies capable of scaling up and being industrial and commercial successes is absolutely critical for our French ecosystem.


At the origin of the identified obstacles, 

  • the scarcity of skills and 
  • the still too great fragmentation of public and private support from the business support ecosystem:

By analyzing the recent experiences of French health tech companies, the strengths and weaknesses of the French ecosystem appear quite clearly, particularly on the subject of key skills and the concentration of support.

The efforts undertaken for several years have not yet fully borne fruit and the consequences are now particularly visible.

Based on testimonials from the field, and from experts or key representatives of HealthTech, the report proposes three lines of action to capitalize on the positive dynamics and thus influence our trajectory.

3 lines of action

HealthTech Plan: Three lines of action to capitalize on a positive dynamic and promote the change of scale of companies in the sector:

→ Axis 1: Talents, execution, support

→ Axis 2: Industrial health policy and structuring of sectors : Define priorities by theme and geography:

→ Axis 3: Administrative framework and attractiveness .

→ Axis 1: Talents, execution, support

Ensure that the teams (executives, key functions, but also administrators) of our Health Tech companies bring the right level of expertise and experience to meet the challenges of scaling up . The mobilization of a range of expertise should help our companies to anticipate strategic development choices and to have execution capacities in line with international industrial standards.

Set up sectoral measures to support businesses in priority territories , at all stages of their development such as the Bpifrance Hub, or communities of mentoring and sharing of experience .

Promote the diversity and depth of investment funds specializing in Biotech and Medtech and having international expertise and sufficient intervention capacity.

→ Axis 2: Industrial health policy and structuring of sectors : Define priorities by theme and geography:

Select priority “hubs” to concentrate the chances of success
in defined geographies, benefit from proximity effects and strengthen local players

Support key themes such as the development of bioproduction capacities , the digitization of the sector, the collection and access to data at all stages of the innovation process (research, recruitment in clinical trials, care pathways, real life).

Create a Health Innovation Agency responsible for defining and leading an industrial policy for health innovation, from upstream to market access and pricing issues. This agency must contribute to the path of creation of medical and economic value through strong interactions between innovative companies and health authorities.

→ Axis 3: Administrative framework and attractiveness .

Whether the transfer of technology, clinical trials or market access, efforts to simplify the administrative framework should continue, as is collaboration between technology transfer organizations and the r strengthening the attractiveness of France for clinical trials.

A word from the authors

“French HealthTech has doubled its turnover in 5 years and biotechs have seen their portfolios move towards commercialization.
However, there is still some way to go. I invite France to draw inspiration from international multidisciplinary “hubs”.
Their experience shows that success has a knock-on effect on other companies, ”
explains Marie Humblot-Ferrero, Associate Director at BCG.

Entrepreneurial successes trigger a virtuous circle around them. It only takes a few big hits to create a talent pool and attract new investors. Excellence in execution and industrialization is key — we should not hesitate to hire international experts or bring back French people living abroad ”explains
Elsy Boglioli, CEO and founder of Bio-Up.

“The HealthTech ecosystem has grown a lot over the past five years. Our challenge now is to renew the collective ambition of all stakeholders so that HealthTech becomes a major technological sector for France ” comments Paul-François Fournier, Executive Director of Innovation at Bpifrance .

“To promote the success of HealthTech, it seems important to us today to ensure continuity and coordination between the entrepreneurial dynamic and the health system. To do this, health authorities must define their priorities in terms of needs and help support the creation of medical value and the deployment of innovations so that patients benefit as quickly as possible. To reintroduce this offensive industrial policy in health, we are calling for the creation of a Health Innovation Agency
concludes Franck Mouthon, President of France Biotech.

“E-health” companies use digital technologies for a better health journey, comment

What is HealthTech?

While the definitions may vary depending on the institution, there are commonly three main categories of startups within HealthTech:

  • Biotechs use methods and techniques using living components (molecules, cells, organisms, etc.) to research, modify or produce health products. 
  • Medtechs develop medical devices in surgical robotics, telemedicine, optical technologies, wound healing and even medical imaging. 
  • “E-health” companies use digital technologies for a better health journey, comment


BCG supports leaders from all over the world (companies, states, NGOs, etc.). We are at their side to help them meet their greatest challenges. Founded in 1963, BCG was the pioneer in strategy consulting. Today, we help our clients in all their transformations in order to accelerate their growth, strengthen their competitive advantage and generate a real impact. The success of organizations today depends on their ability to combine the best human and digital resources.

Our teams bring in-depth industrial and functional expertise to our customers. BCG offers solutions based on very high-level consulting, design, the deployment of new technologies or even the creation of digital businesses — always respecting the raison d’être of companies. We work with our clients according to a unique collaborative model, at all levels of the organization. More information on


Bio-Up is the support company for executives and companies in the HealthTech sector founded by Elsy Boglioli in 2019. The objective of Bio-Up is to help our HealthTech companies to pass key development milestones in order to become leaders Europeans, and global.

Before creating Bio-Up, Elsy was Associate Director at the BCG office in Paris, and Director of Operations of Cellectis, a French biotech with many drug candidates in development. Thanks to this course, she brings to the leaders a double expertise: on the one hand the strategic vision and the ability to articulate it well and on the other hand an acute awareness of the operational needs of a HealthTech company, as well as a solid network. to strengthen teams on a temporary or long-term basis. More information on


Bpifrance finances companies — at each stage of their development — with credit, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance supports them in their innovation projects and internationally. Bpifrance also now ensures their export activity through a wide range of products. Consulting, university, networking and acceleration program for startups, SMEs and mid-cap companies are also part of the offer offered to entrepreneurs.

Thanks to Bpifrance and its 50 regional offices, entrepreneurs benefit from a close, unique and efficient interlocutor to support them in facing their challenges.


France Biotech, founded in 1997, is an independent association which brings together entrepreneurs in healthcare innovation and their expert partners. Facilitator of the healthcare innovation ecosystem and privileged interlocutor of public authorities in France and in Europe, France Biotech contributes to meeting the challenges of the HealthTech sector (financing of companies, taxation of innovation, regulatory issues and access to the market, etc.) and to propose concrete solutions, in terms of competitiveness and attractiveness, through its committees and working groups. This is to help start-ups and SMEs in this sector to become successful international companies capable of rapidly conceiving and developing new innovations and making them ultimately accessible to

About the authors from BCG

Marie Humblot-Ferrero,
Managing Director and Partner Boston Consulting Group

David Parlongue, Partner Boston Consulting Group

Olivier Wierzba, Managing Director and Senior Partner Boston Consulting Group

Fabien Hassan, Project Leader Boston Consulting Group

About other authors


See the full version of the report

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