Published on 10 Jul 2023

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After more than 50 years spent near the Lyon-East Hospitals, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which hosts cutting-edge research in biology, epidemiology, and biostatistics, has moved to the Lyon-Gerland Biodistrict. Lyon Métropole, as the contracting authority, has co-financed and supported the creation of this Nouveau Centre.

Launched in 1963 with the blessing of President de Gaulle, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is an agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), specialised in cancer research and prevention. Installed in Lyon since its creation in 1965, the IARC is backed and supported by Lyon Métropole, which encourages collaborative and innovative approaches in the service of healthcare.

Inaugurated on 12 May 2023 in the Lyon-Gerland Biodistrict, the Nouveau Centre is playing its part in making Lyon a world centre for healthcare research and cancer prevention.

Combating the number two cause of death in the world

With 19.3 million new cases detected every year, cancer is the second largest cause of death in the world, after cardiovascular diseases. The mission of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is to reduce the global burden of cancer thanks to reliable, scientific information. With 27 Member States, the IARC promotes international collaboration in research, in the service of cancer prevention.

Every day, there are some 360 researchers of 50 different nationalities working in the Lyon headquarters.

Lyon-Gerland Biodistrict: a research hub for Lyon and the world

Historically installed in the 8th district of Lyon, the IARC moved in late 2022 into the new purpose-built building in the heart of the Lyon-Gerland Biodistrict.

Located in the 7th district of Lyon, regional epicentre of the life sciences and healthcare ecosystem, the Biodistrict is a hub of research, development and production for biotechnologies and healthcare.

Emblematic site of the Lyon region, the Biodistrict offers excellent visibility and a quality working environment for scientists and researchers to develop open and multidisciplinary research. Working closely with more than 70 institutions in the healthcare sector, the IARC will be able to extend the influence of its work and its recommendations internationally.

Lyon Métropole, at the heart of world cancer research, is delighted to continue to play host to this esteemed establishment. This exceptional new research centre will make it possible to address one of the great health challenges of the years to come. Indeed, as pointed out by Elisabete Weiderpass, director of the IARC, by 2040 cancer rates are predicted to grow by 60%.

Lyon Métropole supports and backs projects in the service of a global healthcare vision

The new IARC building, called the ‘Nouveau Centre’, is a space of more that 11,500 m2, which is based on an ‘open science’ approach. Endowed with the latest technologies in terms of sustainability and reduced carbon footprint, the Nouveau Centre incorporates laboratories, offices, communal spaces, conference rooms, and a bio-bank, which hosts one of the largest and richest collections in the world, with more than 6 million samples.

The objective is to maximise access to the research infrastructures, to the scientific data, and to knowledge, to open up opportunities for partnership.

The construction of the building has resulted from unprecedented support, calling upon several local and national players. The City of Lyon provided land that it owned and Lyon Métropole oversaw the project management, co-financed for a sum of around 60 million euros with the French Government and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region.

Promoting a global vision of healthcare, Lyon Métropole supports the installation of healthcare actors in the territory and encourages collaborative dynamics. From September 2023, for example, the Nouveau Centre will be hosting Biotuesdays, an event dedicated to the members of the local life sciences and healthcare ecosystem.

You are active in the field of healthcare and you’d like to set up business in or around Lyon? Then please get in touch!

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