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French connection
October 2016
by Lori Lesko  |  Email the author
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ANKENY, Iowa—Aimed at establishing a larger global biotechnology footprint with its star attraction, the Fragment Analyzer Automated System, biotech Advanced Analytical Technologies Inc. (AATI) is expanding direct sales, distribution and service into its first French office in Genopole and expanding its presence to the French-speaking part of Belgium and Luxembourg.
 
AATI’s Fragment Analyzer Automated CE System “has become a laboratory standard for the automated analysis of nucleic acids since its release in 2012,” according to Brian Thompson, chief financial officer of AATI. “Now just four years later, we are excited to announce the opening of our French office, making it AATI’s second European branch.”
 
“In 2010, we started our German subsidiary to provide direct sales, distribution and support for our regional customers,” Thompson said in a news release. “Over the years, this effort has been a tremendous success for AATI. We look to our expansion into France as a logical step in leveraging the infrastructure we have created at our Heidelberg (Germany) distribution center.”
 
The Fragment Analyzer is the premier parallel capillary electrophoresis instrument in life sciences research, according to the company. Capable of running 12, 48 or 96 nucleic acid samples in parallel and sizing fragments through 60,000 base pairs, the Fragment Analyzer provides fast and accurate analysis. This versatile instrument is ideal for a plethora of applications ranging from critical QC checkpoints for NGS workflows to CRISPR mutation detection.
 
“This (Genopole) office will allow us to address the French market directly, whereas in the past we used a distributor,” William Amoyal, manager of AATI France, told DDNews. “The researchers in France are very skilled and knowledgeable in molecular biology, and continue to be at the forefront of using the next best technologies. As a company we feel it is important to be able to support this market directly. We are now in the position to do this which is why we opened the office, now. Several years ago we opened our first European office to serve Germany, and this has gone tremendously well. Since opening this office we have expanded our operations to include Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria.”
 
France recently announced it planned to invest just over $740 million in 12 high-throughput sequencing core facilities for genomics and personalized medicine to support the growing needs of the burgeoning French biotechnology market.
 
However, AATI was “already in the process of opening the office when the announcement (of multimillion dollar investment) came out,” Amoyal says.
 
“Our goal to open this French office was all about providing better service to this market as it grows,” he comments. “But this announcement was good news for us. These markets and the U.S. market are key areas for next-generation sequencing and genomics. France is a significant player in the global health and agriculture markets.”
 
Besides, at this time “our office in France will be a sales office. Therefore, France is not investing in our office,” according to Amoyal. “If we decide to invest in R&D in Europe, Genopole will invest. We could get government subsidies to hire people. At this time our plan is to develop our sales and technical support operations by hiring additional employees to serve this market.”
 
Amoyal listed a number of objectives for the company’s future: to position France as a major player among the major countries involved in personalized medicine with a high capacity to export France's know-how in genomic medicine; to prepare for the integration of genomic medicine in the regular healthcare plan and the management of common pathologies, with the purpose to offer access to genomic medicine to cancer patients and patients affected by rare diseases (and then to expand the plan to all patients in the country by 2025); and to build a national genomic medicine sector capable of leveraging innovation, science and technology to create value and become a growth engine for the country.
 
Genopole is “not a subsidiary of AATI,” Amoyal says. “We are simply leasing space in the Genopole biocluster.”
 
At this time Genopole “offers the opportunity for AATI to establish its French office and labs inside the biocluster which is a set of 19 research laboratories, 82 biotech companies and 25 core facilities,” he says. “Several companies and research labs are potential users of AATI’s products. Integragen, one biotech among the 82 that have established their offices at Genopole, is already an AATI customer.”
 
Besides having access to Genopole and its ecosystem, AATI “has access to the communication department of Genopole to raise awareness for our products, solutions and more generally, our activities throughout the Paris area, France, Europe and the rest of the world,” Amoyal says. “Genopole is well known in the country and beyond as the largest research center in Europe.”
 
“At the forefront of genetics and genomics, Genopole promotes the translation of basic research into viable biotechnologies ranging from industrial applications to novel medical treatments,” remarks Pierre Tambourin, CEO of Genopole. “We believe that having offices at this location will allow us to be a part of future advancements and discoveries.”
 
Thanks to its technology, AATI “matches perfectly the objectives of the French personalized medicine plan titled ‘Genomics medicine 2025’, Tambourin says. “The decision of this international company to set up its French subsidiary at the Genopole Biocluster demonstrates the dynamic environment of our ecosystem—and perfectly fits the challenges of novel approaches in research and tomorrow’s medicine.”
 
Code: E101629

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