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RD-Biotech in full takeoff in 2020 thanks to the pandemic

The Besançon SME, the only company in France to prepare plasmid DNA, which is used as biological material for many new treatments, such as messenger RNA vaccines, has seen its business explode with the pandemic. The company is investing in a “plasmid factory” that could be the first in France.The production center, which should employ 15 people at the start, could have 50 people within three years.

Eva Wesley

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Discreetly installed in the Besançon (Doubs) train station district, RD-Biotech will take possession of its new premises at the end of February at Temis Santé, the technopole that is taking shape around the CHU and the Etablissement français du sang (EFS) Bourgogne Franche-Comté (Burgundy Franche-Comté). The building is almost finished, and the 30 employees will then be able to welcome the new recruits this SME needs.

Created in 2002 to develop and produce antibodies for biotechnology companies and major pharmaceutical groups in the clinical research phase, RD-Biotech had already been growing strongly for two years, but its activity exploded with the pandemic. First with the preparation of antibodies for rapid screening tests, for the Belgian company CorisBioConcept. Then with the preparation of plasmids for messenger RNA vaccines. RD-Biotech is indeed the only French company to prepare plasmid DNA.

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RD-Biotech makes its mark in monoclonal antibodies

“The plasmid is the raw material needed to develop any new treatment aimed at synthesizing a protein to cure a patient,” explained Philippe Dulieu, one of the three founding directors. “It’s a kind of mold, or USB key, that will serve as the biological starting material for gene therapies, cancer treatment, messenger RNA, among others,” he illustrated. It is this famous messenger RNA that is found in Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s anti-covid vaccines.

“For this new type of vaccine, we were at the heart of the activity last March, April and May,” said the director, who has been working for 12 years for major players in this technology in Germany and Belgium. “With the current crisis, which validates the strategic approach of messenger RNA, it has become even clearer that the production capacity of these plasmids is a global challenge,” he emphasized.

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On this subject, and with the prospect of a global market for new therapies worth tens of billions of dollars in the next ten years, RD-Biotech had anticipated and launched, as early as 2019, a project for a “plasmid factory”, which is currently in the development phase and is expected to come into being in two years time.

It will enable the SME to meet the demands of customers who want to have a single supplier for the manufacture of plasmids in the R&D phase – which it already offers – but also in the GMP production phase (“good manufacturing practices”).

While the building is not yet out of the ground, RD-Biotech has already booked orders – the delivery time is now two years for the small dozen manufacturers worldwide. The production center, which should employ 15 people at the start, could have 50 people within three years.

RD-Biotech is a subsidiary of the Biotech Investissement holding company, created in 2012 when it bought out Diaclone, a sister company whose activity also exploded in 2020 with the Covid crisis. Its sales of antibodies to measure inflammation have soared in the context of the pandemic. Between them, RD-Biotech and Diaclone recorded growth of 55% in 2020 and are expected to increase from $8.7 million (€7.1 million) in sales in 2019 to $12.2 million (€10 million) in 2020.

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(Featured image by fernandozhiminaicela via Pixabay)

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First published in LesEchos, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Eva Wesley is an experienced journalist, market trader, and financial executive. Driven by excellence and a passion to connect with people, she takes pride in writing think pieces that help people decide what to do with their investments. A blockchain enthusiast, she also engages in cryptocurrency trading. Her latest travels have also opened her eyes to other exciting markets, such as aerospace, cannabis, healthcare, and telcos.