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Interview with French Biotech Blogger Philip Hemme

I recently met up with Philip Hemme, a fellow blogger and new-comer to Boston! We chatted over coffee about some of Philip’s blogging projects, what brought him to Boston, and an amazing film he recently put together about his 5 week Tour de France-style trip to interview 26 French biotech companies – check out the video below!

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What is your background, and what brought you to Boston?

I have a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from Sup’Biotech, a biotechnology university based in Paris, France. After I completed my bachelors, I then started my graduate diploma in the same university in both biotechnology and business. I spent the first year of my graduate education in Paris. For the first semester of my second year, I am doing a double diploma program with Boston University in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. After that, I will start a 6-month full-time internship as assistant business developer in a biotech company in Cambridge. I will then be graduated and searching the best opportunity.

How is the innovation ecosystem in Boston different from that in France?

The size of the ecosystems is very different. Boston has a much larger and active community than everything happening in all of France. An interesting statistics is that more investments are made in biotech start-ups in Boston in one month than in an entire year in France. Also, Boston has a great collaborative environment for academics, business, entrepreneurs and VCs, which creates many opportunities for innovation. In France, academics currently don’t talk to industry or business partners, but this communication is slowly starting to exist there as well.

Can you tell us a little bit about your French biotechnology news website LaBiotech?

LaBiotech.fr is a news website for French-speaking people to learn about what is going on in biotech. We provide news from different sources and aggregate them on the website, where we publish 15-20 articles per week. We also publish our own content such as interviews, conference summaries and analyses. All content is free and provides easy access for readers in one site. We launched in December 2012 and have seen 20,000 visits from 9,000 unique visitors and 1,000 subscribers. We have seen exponential growth with the site – we’re planning to continue growing by providing new content and perhaps an English version.


What inspired you to go on the Tour de France of LaBiotech?

My co-founder, Joachim Eeckhout, and I combined the idea of going on a Tour de France-style bike tour with our website. Together we raised $8,000 to support our 5-week bike trip through 11 different French cities. We toured and interviewed 26 different Biotech companies ranging in size from 10 to 2,000 employees. We interviewed their CEOs and senior managers, and produced a 90-minute documentary film with the footage. The idea was to give a panorama about what’s going on in the biotech industry throughout France and share it for free on YouTube to the World.

 This documentary film is in French, but English subtitles can be activated with the CC button.


Shannon Moore

Shannon Moore

    Shannon is an Associate Consultant at DRG Consulting, where she helps clients in the life sciences approach strategic problems. As a new-comer to Boston, she's very excited about all of the medical innovation happening in her neighborhood, and loves learning about the people and resources that make it so vibrant. Shannon also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering where she studied the biomechanics of bone regeneration. She can be reached at shannon@medtechboston.com.

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