EU approves French biotech state aid

17-10-2007 | |

The European Commission has cleared the awarding of €31 million in state aid from the French Industrial Innovation Agency for biotechnology research.

The EU’s regime for state aid is intended to prevent member states from
protecting or promoting companies to the detriment of competitors within the EU.
The goals are to guarantee an undistorted single market while boosting
competitiveness.

Having examined the French research programme, known as
Osiris, the Commission has concluded that it is not spontaneously market-driven
as the research results that follow will be disseminated, benefiting other
parties, including competitors.

The Osiris R&D programme has a
funding envelope of €77 million that will be spread over eight years. The aim is
to produce tools for the rapid selection of micro-organisms, to develop
industrial solid-state fermentation processes, and to create specific
biotechnology products that will improve the yield of biofuel production from
wheat and maize in particular.

These biotechnology products should also
boost the performance of the cereals, oilseeds and protein crops used for animal
feed while increasing the harvest of the co-products yielded during biofuel
production.

Finally, the technology will be used to produce alcohol-free
beer and malted beverages, and to protect cereal crops from the disease
fusariosis (fungus infection).

The programme will be coordinated by the
Soufflet
group
,  a French family-run firm specialising in the collection and
transformation of agricultural resources. It will also involve another French
company and a research institute.

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