development of important research projects
along with collaborations on a worldwide scale.
Organisations such as the International Society
for Biological and Environmental Repositories
(ISBER), the Biobanking and Biomolecular
Resources Research Infrastructure of Belgium
(BBMRI), and the European, Middle Eastern &
African Society for Biopreservation &
Biobanking (ESBB) now allow the set-up of
large cohort studies and large biomarker
research investigations. This research supports,
among other subjects, the development of
personalised medicine, the identification of new
treatments for rare diseases, and research on
genetic biomarkers, etc.
These projects have been made possible by the
evolution of the bioinformatics tools and
competences that now allow the exploitation of
large sums of data within the respect of ethical
and legal aspects.
How has biobanking expanded to
other parts of Europe?
The professionalisation of biobanking in Europe
has been established thanks to ISBER and
ESBB (both founded four years ago) and BBMRI.
The law institutions and the growing number of
scientific publications enable the development
of European projects and a way to advance
biobanking even more. Similarly, Horizon 2020
also plays a primordial role.
What efforts could be made to
better realise the benefits of
biobanking in the EU?
There are several steps that could be taken,
including the international normalisation of
biobanking activities. A French delegation is
currently working on a project in this area which
includes the participation of the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Cell
& Co. In parallel, other countries such as Japan,
the United States and China, which all have a
well-established community of biobanking
researchers, are also working on this project.
he EU’s member states are judged to be ‘world leaders in
the development of biobanking infrastructure’, according
to a report published by the European Commission’s DG
Research and Innovation in 2012. Biobanking has become firmly
established within the continent, and large amounts of investment
capital are annually poured into these research structures to
realise the benefits to R&D.
DG Research has defined an ultimate aim of ‘linking biobanks together
as part of a pan-European infrastructure to support medical research
and healthcare’, citing the importance of continued investment to realise
‘long term growth of the medical field of the Life Sciences’. According to
the Commission, such financing will assist in developing Europe’s
innovative edge in drug development, medical research and the delivery
To explore the latest advances in biobanking, Portal spoke to Cell & Co’s
Florent Belon and Sofien Dessolin, the joint chief executives running
Europe’s first ecobiobanks. They set out their thoughts on how the
positives of biobanking can be better realised, the role of Horizon 2020,
and how biobanking will develop over the next five years.
What have been the latest developments in regards to
biobanking and related sectorial technology?
Biobanking and related sectorial technology have been well developed
during the past two decades; 20% of the French population now know
the term ‘biobanking’, compared to almost none in 2000. The latest
developments are technological, with the democratisation of matrix cryo
vials. There are also automation and organisational changes with the
I S S U E S E V E N
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA Lwww.horizon2020projects.com
H E A L T H & P AT I E N T D ATA
, managing director of Cell & Co Biorepository, explains the
challenges that now face the biobanking sector, including standardisation, and
what benefits Horizon 2020 can bring
Recognition of the
term ‘biobanking’ is on
the rise in France