France’s Famous Faces: Florence Agostino-Etchetto

10th May 2022

Florence Agostino-Etchetto is CEO of Lyonbiopôle, the gateway to healthcare innovation in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. As a leading cluster, it supports ambitious projects and innovative companies in the healthcare & life sciences’ sector. For Boardroom’s France’s Famous Faces series, she explains what makes Lyonbiopôle Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes so special, and how some of its members have been instrumental in attracting conferences to Lyon.

Words Remi Deve

Can you present Lyonbiopôle Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes?

Lyonbiopôle Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is a competitiveness cluster specialized in the healthcare sector. It federates and facilitates the innovative health ecosystem of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, and represents and promotes this regional network of experts at a local, national and international level.

Today, Lyonbiopôle brings together and hosts more than 275 members. They are large and small companies, academics and hospitals, whose innovation, growth, and internationalization projects are supported every step of the way. We aim to help these highly-trained professionals build the medicine of the future, so that the technologies, products and services of tomorrow they develop are available to patients sooner than later.

You are currently working on the creation of a European biocluster. What will be its missions?

The pandemic has unveiled the vulnerability of our healthcare system as a whole. We now need to be better prepared and rethink the entire healthcare sector, so we are able to overcome potential future health crises more efficiently.

As the place where vaccines and diagnostics were first born, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region boasts all kinds of assets and some major players – both from academia and industry – in the field of human and animal infectiology. It was only natural for us to be at the forefront of the creation of a European biocluster dedicated to immuno-infectiology.

The missions of this cluster will be to structure different kinds of initiatives et gather under one roof, if I may say, all the actors and the tools that have a role to play in terms of prevention, diagnosis and treatment. It will also offer the opportunity to make the ‘One Health’ concept, this integrated, systemic and unified approach to public health, more concrete.

Some of your members have successfully bidden for medical congresses to come to Lyon. In what way is this important for the City of Lights?

The history of Lyon is closely linked to some major – sometimes recent – discoveries in the health field. As a territory which promotes excellence at every level, it has created an ecosystem of academic and clinical skills showcased in the work of some 22,000 life science research professionals, 40 public/private research institutes and internationally renowned academic research institutes and infrastructures such as CNRS or INRIA just to name a few.

In addition, Lyon and its region are recognized as an active and attractive talent pool. It is the first French region with employees in the fields of R&D, and bioproduction for instance. Its large industrial network also brings together major international groups such as Nemera, Roche Diagnostics, Sanofi for example, but smaller companies as well. Last but not least, more than 800 start-ups and SMEs work in the region to create the innovations of tomorrow.

All of these ingredients make Lyon a destination of choice for conferences in the fields of biotech, medtech or digital health. After all, medical events are an opportunity to develop international collaborations and showcase to the world what Lyon is really good at.

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