What is a biopharmaceutical?

A drug is any substance or composition presented as having properties for treating, preventing or diagnosing disease in humans or animals. Whereas biopharmaceuticals in the strict sense of the term, are molecules that have the characteristic of being produced from living organisms or their cellular components. These molecules are intermediate between chemical drugs and living biologics.

Why a biopharmaceutical research programme in region Centre-Val de Loire?

The proportion of biopharmaceuticals in the drug market should increase from 20% in 2014 to more than 40% by 2020. The region Centre-Val de Loire is at the cutting edge of research in the pharmaceutical sector, so it has provided 7 M€ over 3 years for research and to facilitate innovative inter-sectorial industrial development and partnerships for socioeconomic development beyond 2020.

The ARD2020 BIOPHARMACEUTICALS (BIOMÉDICAMENTS) programme aims to further develop and strengthen the region Centre-Val de Loir biopharmaceuticals industry by capitalising on the recognised capabilities of the multidisciplinarity research teams from the regional research institutions.

Research institutions

  • University of Tours
  • Centre INRAE Val de Loire
  • CNRS Centre Limousin Poitou-Charentes
  • University of Orleans
  • CHRU Tours

Transversal partners

  • Groupe IMT

Objectives of the programme

  • Developing a flagship research and development pole on biopharmaceuticals in the region Centre-Val de Loire 
  • Configuring the biopharmaceuticals sector
  • Inter-sectorial development and innovation in the pharmacy/health sectors through start-ups, SMEs including established local and regional based multinational companies
  • Promote the transfer of technologies/competences to existing businesses

The ARD Biopharmaceutical Programme

The Biopharmaceuticals programme focuses on the design and biosynthesis of molecules for preclinical and clinical development by including the search for synergies with conventional chemically synthesised drugs. They programme involves working with a wide spectrum of molecules (vaccines, therapeutic antibodies, nucleic acids...) with the need for a diverse range of competences and the involvement of teams with complementary expertise. The researchers present in the region Centre-Val de Loire, working in the disciplines of life sciences, are invited to participate and work in synergy, for inter-sectorial development and innovation, in the pharmacy/health sectors to deliver socio-economic outcomes.

Phase 1 – The funded axes of research

AXIS A: Synthesis and biosynthesis of molecules

Project A – Development of factory cell lines

Biopharmaceuticals are produced by genetic engineering and the technology for this production has significant economic implications. Much of the therapeutic and economic success of biopharmaceuticals depends on the development factory cell lines.

Professor Chantal Pichon

LE STUDIUM Research Fellow: 

AXIS C: Validation of therapeutic targets

Project C1 - Targeting of G protein-coupled receptors by modulator antibodies.

The G protein-coupled receptors are targeted by nearly 50% of the drugs currently available. However, the identification of small chemical ligands is very difficult for some G protein-coupled receptors. Antibody-based targeting strategies aimed at identifying novel pathway-selective drugs currently open a new avenue in drug discovery.

Dr. Eric Reiter

LE STUDIUM Research Fellow: Mohammed Ayoub 

Project C2 - Lipids as modulators of the response to biodrugs

The modes of action of biopharmaceuticals on their target proteins are largely unknown; especially as the lipid environment of the membrane proteins play an important role in the efficacy of biopharmaceuticals. The optimization of the use or development of a new generation of biologics, including transmembrane targets, requires knowledge of the impact of the lipid environment on their mode of action and effectiveness.

Professor Stephan Chevalier

LE STUDIUM Research Fellow: Jorge Gutierrez


The massive influx of biopharmaceuticals in the therapeutic arsenal and in the pipeline of pharmaceutical companies is accompanied by the emergence of new socio-economic issues, which are poorly understood. Innovative companies in this sector need to understand the socio-economic constraints and the present economic dynamics. The SHS axis aims to respond to a major issue: how to encourage the creation and development of enterprises in the sector of biopharmaceuticals.

Professor Véronique Des Garets

LE STUDIUM Research Fellow: 

AXIS E: – Clinical investigations

The development of a new clinical investigation methodology for biopharmaceuticals focused on three major issues will be pursued:

  • understanding the mechanisms of action;
  •  identify, predict and reliably measure the risk/benefit of treatments and explain the mechanism of adverse effects;
  •  identify the phenomenon of treatment immunization and understand the mechanism

Professor Hervé Watier


  • Selection of foreign researchers

Selection, according to European standards, of experienced researchers, for long term residences and working on projects funded by the programme biopharmaceuticals.

  • Welcoming foreign researchers

Welcoming foreign researchers and their families with the best possible support and conditions to ensure their integration into the region and within the biopharmaceuticals programme research teams.

  •  Scientific animation

Organisation of various international events in collaboration with the host laboratories of the biopharmaceuticals programme and with the technical and administrative support of LE STUDIUM. These events are intended to increase the international impact of the biopharmaceuticals programme, to enrich it by additional external intellectual inputs, to foster the consolidation of sustainable international networks as well as transverse exchanges between different research teams.