Business Development Priority: Medical Devices

This business development priority (“DVS”) aims at stimulating interactions between Hospital, Research and Industry to generate innovations that will lead to medical and industrial successes in the sector of Medical Devices.
It organizes a close dialogue between actors of innovation, financing and regulation to promote projects that could become tomorrow's products and international successes.


The health sector is on the cusp of a major transformation driven by both an expected "epidemiological transition" (strong increase of chronic diseases, aging population...) and the rise of new paradigms, such as personalized and connected medicines. In this context, the field of medical devices(MD), which includes medical robots, in vitro devices and connected objects, will take on a new dimension. Proof of their importance, MD are one of the priorities of the “Contrat de la filière Industries et Technologies de santé (1)", which aims at promoting a public health policy focused on patients, safety and fair access to innovation. In addition, they are the subject of one of the “34 plans pour la Nouvelle France Industrielle (2)”.

 France has many assets to become prominent in this growing global market: it possesses top scientists, creative start-ups, health infrastructures of good quality and expert health professionals. Indeed, in the past fifty years, more than half of the French medical breakthroughs are connected to a medical device.

The potential of this industry makes it a system that should be fed with innovations, and that is precisely what this DVS (3) wants to address.

Industry challenges and expectations

The MD industry presents a wide variety of products and sizes, from very small businesses to large international groups. It is a high value-added industry, with many research centers in France.

In 2010, medical technologies represented a global market of more than 200 billion euros, with Europe as its main market, ahead of the United States and Asia. France is the fourth market after the United States, Germany and Japan (4). The French market for MD is estimated at 23 billion euros in 2013, for 800,000 to 2,000,000 product references. In comparison, the pharmaceutical market is about 26.8 billion euros (5). At the hospital, the medical device market represents 5 to 6 billion euros, almost half of which being consumables used by public health institutions.

Of the 1,079 companies located in France in 2010, 790 are French and 285 are subsidiaries. Nearly 80% of these subsidiaries are from American, German, Swiss and Japanese companies.

Altogether, these MD firms employ over 60,000 people. 94% of the manufacturers located in France are SMEs (less than 250 employees), 45% of which having less than 20 employees (6). These companies form a fabric that is fragile, but also particularly responsive and dynamic in terms of innovation.

While France has much strength, its trade balance in this sector is in deficit. The emergence of French companies able to go global would have a ripple effect on other actors of the MD industry and would stimulate export.
Several levers can be mobilized:

  • To encourage and support public/private partnerships, which would allow companies to prepare their pipeline with incremental innovations as well as with breakthrough innovations or innovations drawing from concomitant sectors;
  • To encourage private/private partnerships, which would enable SMEs to benefit from the international network of large firms;
  • To help SMEs to integrate regulatory requirements early on and to find financing adapted to the degree of maturity of their projects.

Planned actions

MD cover a wide field, ranging from common materials, such as bandages, medical imaging, implantable devices, to groundbreaking technologies such as the "artificial heart".

To participate efficiently in the development of this sector, the DVS will address sequentially several major families of pathologies (related to an organ or group of organs) and explore transversally everything that is related to MD: clinical needs, industrial property, industrial supply, funding opportunities, regulation etc. Families of diseases to treat, and the order in which they will be considered, will be proposed to the Steering Committee in light of available strategic studies and studies that will be conducted by the DVS.


(1) Agreement between actors of health industries and technologies (in French), July 2013.

(2) 34 plans for the New Industrial France

(3) for Domaine de Valorisation Stratégique

(4) PIPAME analysis (in French), June 2011.

(5) CESE notice (in French), January 2015.

Date of creation: November 2014
Coordinators: Jean-Marc Grognet & Benoît Labarthe (Anne-Florence Fay) 
Coordinating organizations: CEA & AP-HP
Project manager: Peggy Baudouin-Cornu

The first milestone meeting took place on April 7th 2016.
Download slides (in French)

View Edit Create here