PARIS—The Pasteur Institute, which over the past century has evolved into a major center of biomedical research, celebrate its centennial this week with unusual panache for such a venerable institution. It enters its second century in far better financial shape than it was a decade ago, and having recently tucked several new feathers into its cap.

French President Francois Mitterand and Prime Minister Jacques Chirac will launch the anniversary events, which include a conference on the future of biomedical research. A special lesson on Louis Pasteur is being taught in all primary and secondary schools in France, and a 50-minute film will be shown on television. The Pasteur station on the Paris Metro has even been refurbished.

The cost of the gala celebration—about 10 million francs ($1.7 million)—has been largely covered by donations from industry, and will not diminish the institute’s research funds. On the contrary, the events are expected...

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