Inauguration of the New Porsolt Research Center  
9/12/2011 11:57:31 AM

Le Genest-Saint-Isle, 7 September 2011– Public praise for Porsolt at the inauguration of its new Research Centre In the Mayenne town of Le Genest-Saint-Isle, France.

Porsolt celebrated the inauguration of its new Research Centre on Thursday 1st of September 2011 in the presence of 200 guests including its French and international clients, representatives from local firms and political and government personalities such as Mme Nicole Bouillon (Mayor of Le Genest-Saint-Isle), Mr. Loïc Bédouet (Councillor for the Loire Region representing its President Mr. Jacques Auxiette), Mr. Jean Arthuis (President of the Mayenne District, Senator and former French Minister of Finance), Mr. Guillaume Garot (Member of Parliament and Mayor of Laval) and Mr. Eric Pilloton (Prefect for the Mayenne District). Also present was Mr. Roger Janvier, former Mayor of Le Genest-Saint-Isle, founder of the Janvier animal breeding centre, a patriarchal figure in Mayenne politics.

In his address, the President of Porsolt, Dr Roger D. Porsolt, described the history of the company which, since its creation in 1984, has increased from a working space of 400 m2 with 2 technicians to 5500 m2 with over 70 staff in the Paris region and in the Mayenne and a subsidiary (Porsolt Inc. USA) in Texas.

Dr. Porsolt reminded the audience that the development of a firm such as Porsolt was by no means a long and tranquil process, and that the firm had to overcome numerous obstacles during its 25 years of existence. During its first 2 years the firm was under considerable financial stress and had to rely on the unwavering support of its bank, the Banque Populaire de l’Ouest (BPO), during this difficult period. Following independence in 1999, the company engaged on construction of a major increase in its working space (3500 m2), inaugurated in September 2004, only to discover the imminent construction of a rapid railway line (Ligne de Grande Vitesse, LGV) within metres of its boundary. In the ensuing 5 years the company was engaged in tough negotiations with Réseau Ferré de France (RFF) before the construction of the present Research Centre could even be envisaged.

Then came the financial crisis of 2008, which put an end to over 10 years of continuous growth (10 – 15% per year). Dr. Porsolt warmly thanked all the political and administrative persons from the District, the Region and the central Government whose unfailing support has enabled today’s inauguration of the new facilities.

Dr. Mark S. Duxon, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Porsolt since 2008, described the painful consequences of the collapse of Lehmann Brother in 2008 on the global economy and, in particular, the pharmaceutical industry on which service providers such as Porsolt depend. The crisis brought about a long period of reflection within the industry during which the number of work orders decreased, causing problems for Porsolt, but also for Porsolt’s competitors. Porsolt’s survival, despite these difficulties, relied on 4 pillars of its activity: the scientific expertise of its staff, its insistence on quality, its good relations with its clients and the increase in its capacities thanks to its new Research Centre, thereby constituting a powerful platform for future growth. As an example, Dr. Duxon quoted the establishment of a new laboratory for analytical chemistry which has already exceeded expectations. Dr. Duxon sees signs of a new increase in demand which, within 2 years, should permit earnings to attain and even surpass those reached in 2008.

Mme Nicole Bouillon, Mayor of le Genest-Saint-Isle, spoke of 8 years of negotiations with the public authorities before completing the construction of the new Research Centre “without transfer of the activity elsewhere, loss of any local jobs, or any costs to local inhabitants”. This result, unique in nature, owes its success to the close collaboration between locally elected persons and the public authorities, in particular RFF, who despite careful guardianship of public funds, always respected their engagements to ensure that Porsolt remained within the same town. For Mme Bouillon, the construction of Porsolt’s new Research Centre is a demonstration of how a situation potentially devastating for a small town can be turned into a major advantage, “modernizing, rationalizing and extending” a local company already known for creating employment for local inhabitants.

Mr. Loïc Bedouet, Councillor for the Loire Region representing its President Mr. Jacques Auxiette, insisted on the importance of Porsolt’s research domains “for those who suffer”, in particular from chronic pain or Alzheimer’s disease. In the current difficult economic period, Mr. Bedouet expressed his admiration for companies like Porsolt that pushed ahead with determined optimism in the face of the crisis. Regional economic policies were aimed at reinforcing the following 3 axes: maintaining established structures in place, mixing industrial with rural activities in the same areas, and encouraging high tech companies to “carry the flag of the Region” beyond its boundaries. For these reasons, the Region had already contributed different aids to Porsolt, in 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2010, and was convinced that the construction of the new Research Centre would allow Porsolt to continue on the same path in years to come.

Mr. Jean Arthuis, President of the Mayenne District, Senator and former French Minister of Finance, was delighted with Porsolt’s demonstration that “alternatives can be found”. Despite the political, administrative and legal difficulties, determination and unshakeable confidence in the future can permit new solutions, even in the case where the imminence of the LGV project between Le Mans and Rennes appeared as an ominous threat to a small community such as Le Genest-Saint-Isle. Mr. Arthuis recalled how the initial LGV project was approved by only a short majority on the District Council, and emphasized his happiness that this vote permitted a considerable leap forward into the 21st century. He expressed his satisfaction that this important decision, largely funded by the District, did not come at a cost to any local enterprise. In an epoch of “financial” management, Mr. Arthuis applauded the fact that Porsolt chose to remain in the Mayenne with its staff of local men and women, instead of removing its activities elsewhere. Porsolt’s choice was in line with District policy that the Mayenne should remain a hub for technological research, where Porsolt would fully play its role.

Mr. Guillaume Garot, Member of Parliament and Mayor of Laval, reiterated his belief in the necessity for an immense effort in favour of research, recalling that Germany was ahead of France in its public investment in research (2.8% of the global government budget as compared with 2.1% in France). Without increasing its efforts, France and its industry risked being outdistanced by its international competitors. “We need to be ambitious in our research objectives, say 3% of the global government budget by 2017, to succeed in the future, via a methodical partnership between the public and private sectors, academia and industry”. To achieve this, France needs vigorous and enthusiastic private companies with an iron-willed determination to succeed. Porsolt represents an example of this for the Mayenne.

Mr. Eric Pilloton, Prefect for the Mayenne District, discussed drug safety and the necessity for maximum rigour throughout the drug development chain from synthesis of a new molecule up to and beyond its being sold on the market. For over a century, the French pharmaceutical industry was within the leading 3 for export, with a world-wide reputation for high quality and innovative medicines. The public authorities were delighted that Porsolt should constitute an element of this chain in the Mayenne. The construction of the new Porsolt Research Centre, with its highly qualified staff, should guarantee Porsolt’s presence in the Mayenne over the coming years.

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