Scientific expertise

The South of France is particularly visible and has recognised research themes, which from academic and clinical research to industrial actors is one of the leading centres of expertise in France and Europe.



Almost 20 % of known bacteria in science have been discovered in the Marseille laboratories and in recent years, four new families of viruses have been isolated there. The University Hospital Institute (IHU) in Infectious Diseases of Marseille is the bridgehead of scientific and clinical expertise in infectious diseases, positioning Marseille in the top five global centres of competence in the field. 

Due to government support in the form of a large loan, Marseille will host by 2016 a new building of 21,000 m2 dedicated to diagnosis, research, education and care for infectious and tropical diseases. The complex, located in the heart of the La Timone hospital, will house 700 employees to be able to manage severe epidemic crises requiring the accommodation of dozens of patients in drastic isolation conditions.

In parallel, the local scientific expertise has founded several entrepreneurial projects in the area.


In the Luminy campus in the centre hospitals, more than a 1,000 employees work in the field of immunology in Marseille. Excellence Marseille has notably built around the Immunology Centre of Marseille-Luminy (CIML), founded more than 40 years, and on powerful clinical resources on the fight against cancer. This environment has already founded several businesses, including Innate Pharma, specialising in innate immunity for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory diseases and rare diseases, which signed in 2011 with Bristol Myers Squibb the largest trade agreement the history of European biotechnology for its drug candidate IPH2102 (lirilumab). 

Researchers, doctors and industrial actors in the field have come together in the Immunopôle Marseille project, aimed at positioning Marseille as the European Capital of immunology, an expanding sector.


Over 230 teams in PACA contribute to cancer research from the territory’s Centres of Excellence of Marseille and Nice.

Clinicians or researchers, specialists in the most diverse areas of genetics to human and social sciences, all team up to advance science for the benefit of patients. 

The SIRIC Marseille is one of the eight sites of Integrated Research in Oncology accredited by the National Cancer Institute (INCa). It brings together a critical mass of 750 researchers and physicians working in hospitals, the Institute Paoli Calmettes (IPC), the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille (AP-HM) and associated research centres. It implements integrated research programmes focused on four pathologies: cancers of the breast, pancreas, brain and leukaemia.


The neurosciences, cognitive sciences and aging and disability issues are areas with potential opportunities in the coming years.

Eurobiomed relies on the 2nd French research community in Neuroscience, with 36 laboratories representing 1,200 researchers and ITA, with more than 10 research institutes:

  • Marseille : AP-HM - Centre for Magnetic Resonance in Biology and Medicine - IBDML - INMED - Institut de Neuroscience de la Timone;
  • Montpellier : CHRU - IGF - INM – Euromov Platform - Labex EpiGenMed LIRMM ;
  • Nice: Institut Pompidou, CHRU, IPMC.

3 DHU was certified by Aix-Marseille University, whose neurodegenerative disease project DHU (DHUNE) aims to consolidate Neurosciences forces in Marseille. 

Finally, a dynamic industrial community with a grasp of the issues, companies from the pharmaceutical industry and biotech (generalist or specialised) specialised in medical devices and ICT health.


Visual impairment is one of the main causes of loss of autonomy in the elderly and is therefore a care issue and a social issue. 

The cluster has considerable expertise in ophthalmology, including the Ophta biotech sector, a privileged partner since 2009, and leading academic reference centres.

Established in 2008, the Ophta Biotech association includes 40 members: research laboratories, industry, hospitals, universities, and patient associations. The Ophthalmology industry is widely represented, with Horus Pharma and Iris Pharma, AMO, BauschLomb, Cooper Vision companies, Europhta (subsidiary of Thea laboratory), Immunosearch, MXM, Octalia, Quantificare.

Ophta Biotech aims to promote emergence of new projects to provide new tools, including tools for those affected by eye disease.

Finally, initiatives for creating Gerontology clusters, dedicated platforms and living labs (I2ML, Kyomed, Delvalle project, ICSU...) are tools that the cluster relies upon for rollout of R&D Projects.