Backed by Gov. Patrick, Mass. tech organizations announce a flurry of strategic links in France

Image of <a href="">View on Eiffel Tower, Paris, France via Shutterstock</a>
Image of View on Eiffel Tower, Paris, France via Shutterstock

In a series of partnerships that echoes the days when the Siemens brothers helped stretch transatlantic cables from Cape Cod to the French coast, organizations from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are connecting with counterparts in the French Republic to push technology and innovation forward in both Boston and Paris.

Last week ended with a flurry of announcements and news involving the strategic tech partnerships being formed between the Boston tech community and the burgeoning Paris innovation ecosystem.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was the most notable of the many local dignitaries and innovators in the French capital last week. Patrick was there for what has been billed as the “Governors Massachusetts-France Innovation Partnership Mission.”

French Biotech in Boston
On Friday morning, at the US embassy in Paris, the governor and Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, chief executive and president of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, announced that French biotech company Nanobiotix will be opening its first US office in Massachusetts.

Nanobiotix, a clinical-stage nano-medicine company has developed a technology called NanoXray that uses radiotherapy to treat cancer patients more efficiently.

Patrick met personally with officials from Nanobiotix in June at a biotech conference in San Diego, urging them to move to the state. In a statement, the governor said, “We welcome Nanobiotix, and we look forward to working with them to create jobs and opportunities in the Commonwealth.”

Patrick wasn’t done making announcements regarding the Massachusetts-France tech collaboration.

Importing/Exporting Cleantech
Later on Friday, Greentown Labs‘ executive director Emily Reichert and executive vice president Mark Vasu joined Governor Patrick to announce that the cleantech incubator/shared work space strategic partnership and sponsorship deal with 350-year-old global building materials corporation Saint-Gobain, as well as its North American construction products subsidiary CertainTeed, which develops products at offices in Worcester.

The partnership is similar to the one that Greentown Labs’ announced last week with EnerNOC. Like the EnerNOC deal, the Saint-Gobain partnership will involve the French company’s employees being located within Greentown Labs. Saint-Gobain, and its in-house engineers, plans to test innovative new technologies at the Somerville cleantech incubator.

“This partnership between Greentown Labs and Saint-Gobain is further evidence that Massachusetts cleantech companies are competing in the global marketplace,” said Governor Patrick of the deal.

With London Office Opening, Is MassChallenge Paris Next?
With news that MassChallenge is opening a branch in London officially being announced last week, you would think that John Harthorne and crew would take a bit of a European vacation.

Not so much.

The official announcement of the £10m MassChallenge UK startup accelerator program hopes to replicated the highly successful Boston model, giving mentorship, work space, as well as no-strings-attached funding and other material benefits to European startups and entrepreneurs.

Left to Right: MassChallenge CEO John Harthorne, Governor of Massachussetts Deval Patrick, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, MassChallenge UK Managing Director Chris Howard

Left to Right: MassChallenge CEO John Harthorne, Governor of Massachussetts Deval Patrick, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, MassChallenge UK Managing Director Chris Howard

Governor Patrick, was in London as part of the launch to “gift the MassChallenge US model to the UK,” at a House of Lords reception.

On Friday, MassChallenge chief executive John Harthorne (who has been bopping from Moscow to Berlin to Paris for talks about future MassChallenge expansion) was in Paris along with Governor Partrick and life science incubator space LabCentral co-founder and president Johannes Fruehauf, MD, PhD, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with BPI France.

The MOU is an agreement for partnership and investment that helps MassChallenge and LabCentral set the stage for growth in Paris and more partnerships between France and the Boston tech scene.

As Harthorne said in an email, “Governor Patrick’s innovation partnership mission demonstrates that Massachusetts can be a great economic partner on a global scale.”

“Signing the MOU in France is an important step for MassChallenge as we continue to explore new locations for our accelerator and think about new ways to create value for entrepreneurs in Boston,” he added.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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