The history of Genopole®
The Genopole® project was conceived in the late 1980s by Bernard Barataud (the then President of the French Muscular Dystrophy Association, organizer of France’s first Telethon fund-raising event and the founder of Genethon, a hi-tech genomics and genetics research lab) and Daniel Cohen (Scientific Director of the Foundation Jean Dausset Centre d’Etude du Polymorphisme Humain research institute in Paris).
In 1997, the then French Secretary of State for Research (François d’Aubert) gave new momentum to this initiative by officializing the creation of two national facilities in Evry:
- the Genoscope/National Sequencing Center, headed by Jean Weissenbach
- the National Genotyping Center, headed by Pierre Le Ber (interim director).
This decision was the key triggering factor because in January 1998, Claude Allègre (the then French Minister for Research, Technology and Higher Education) asked Pierre Tambourin (an INSERM staff research scientist and a former Director of the CNRS’s Life Science Department) to create France’s first science and business park dedicated to genomics, post-genomics and the growth of the biotech industry.
In October 1998, the Evry Genopole® project was officially launched in the presence of Claude Allègre and Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry).
Now, 12 years on, the biopark is home to 66 innovative companies and 20 academic research laboratories.