Jan 22, 2017
Source: La French Tech
Biotechnology is a flourishing industry in Europe, delivering innovative treatments, attracting world class talent, providing 26 percent of all global manufacturing of biological medicines and creating 170,000 direct and 700,000 indirect jobs for the European economy. In France alone, biotech and medtech companies raised a total of €492M in the first semester of 2017, with a funding average of €7.2M per company.
These are just a few of the reasons that Novus Life Sciences, based in Hong Kong, was first attracted to France. The opportunity to participate in the French Tech Ticket program and win a range of enablement support, including startup capital, work space and professional mentoring, was extra incentive to consider France as the place to start the company.
Novus develops proprietary biological materials to help orthopedic patients live a more comfortable life. Studies have shown that bone cysts (small holes in the bone) are common in people with arthritis and often affect the progression of the disease. Novus’ product fills up these bone cysts to decrease the painful symptoms of arthritis. This revolutionary treatment is especially relevant for countries that have an aging population like China and France where bone disorder is common.
We caught up with Wilson Wong, founder of Novus, to ask about his experience with the French Tech Ticket Program and his company’s goals looking forward.
Why was Paris an attractive place for Novus to expand?
Paris will be a key base for our expansion to the European market as we are planning to establish a limited company in France. The establishment of our French company not only helps us gain a solid international reputation, but also provides us with great opportunities in the biomedical market in broader Europe.
What part of the French Tech ticket program was most helpful for your company?
The thing we valued most was the tailored mentorship we received from Mr. Jean-Marc Chalot, CEO and President of Péters Surgical, one of the largest medical device companies in France. Mr. Chalot is very experienced and helpful in giving us guidance to establish a medical device company. We expect to build the necessary networks for our development in the European market and lay a foundation to manufacture and distribute our products.
Which French incubator did you choose and why?
We chose Incubateur Bond’innov for its focus on bio- and medical-tech projects and its prime location in Paris, which will be crucial for our expansion in Europe. One of the visions for this specific incubator is to encourage entrepreneurship and cooperation between laboratories and companies, which is right in line with Novus’ goal as a member company of an incu-bio program.
Did this program change your view about the French Tech ecosystem?
We have found both the French Tech ecosystem and investment conditions encouraging. We have seen firsthand how the government invests massively to attract global talents and startups. Besides funds, they provided assistance tailored to each startup’s needs, such as networks and incubation. We also appreciated that France offers startup teams a fast-track visa to facilitate their careers in the country.
Have any other opportunities arisen of your French Tech Ticket experience?
Since Novus was the only Hong Kong company that was chosen for the French Tech Tour this year, the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong invited us to join the opening cocktail of the French Tech Tour China 2017 at Bpifrance Le Hub in September. The event gave the company an opportunity to meet the other 12 French tech startups, representatives from Sino-French companies and investors. It was a great occasion to connect and share each other’s’ experiences in working with both their French and Chinese partners.
What’s next for Novus?
We are planning to expand our research and manufacturing teams in France as well as preparing production facilities in France where we will produce our product before June 2018. We will also conduct the necessary product testing and apply for the necessary certifications. We are looking forward to more cooperation with major universities and research institutes to improve our product even further and apply it to other orthopedic diseases. In addition, our animal products will be available in a few months’ time as a better therapy option for animals with orthopedic conditions.