Amid a national debate over how to reform scientific research and boost innovation, a leading voice for French biotechnology has been meeting with government ministers to help close France's biotech gap with the United States and Britain.

Under special scrutiny is a proposal for greater tax breaks to help young biotechnology companies. Philippe Pouletty, chairman of the industry group France Biotech, has met with Finance Minister Herve Gaymard and other top government officials to discuss broadening a year-old tax incentive program for technology companies.

The proposal for special tax status for "young listed companies" ("jeunes entreprises cotees") would help companies after initial public offering (IPO), expanding on a program that now helps companies before IPO.

France has only six listed biotechs, compared to more than 46 in the United Kingdom and some 310 in the United States, according to France Biotech. Pouletty says what's needed is a new way...

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