Virchows Archiv

, Volume 464, Issue 1, pp 3–9 | Cite as

Public–private relationships in biobanking: a still underestimated key component of open innovation

  • Paul HofmanEmail author
  • Christian Bréchot
  • Kurt Zatloukal
  • Georges Dagher
  • Bruno Clément
Review and Perspectives


Access to human bioresources is essential to the understanding of human diseases and to the discovery of new biomarkers aimed at improving the diagnosis, prognosis, and the predictive response of patients to treatments. The use of biospecimens is strictly controlled by ethical assessment, which complies with the laws of the country. These laws regulate the partnerships between the biobanks and industrial actors. However, private–public partnerships (PPP) can be limiting for several reasons, which can hamper the discovery of new biological tests and new active molecules targeted to human diseases. The bottlenecks and roadblocks in establishing these partnerships include: poor organization of the biobank in setting up PPP, evaluation of the cost of human samples, the absence of experience on the public side in setting up contracts with industry, and the fact that public and private partners may not share the same objectives. However, it is critical, in particular for academic biobanks, to establish strong PPP to accelerate translational research for the benefits of patients, and to allow the sustainability of the biobank. The purpose of this review is to discuss the main bottlenecks and roadblocks that can hamper the establishment of PPP based on solid and trusting relationships.


Biobank Research Public–private partnerships Bottlenecks Contracts Private company Indicators 



This work was supported by the National Infrastructure “Biobanques” (Grant ANR, France).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Hofman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • Christian Bréchot
    • 3
  • Kurt Zatloukal
    • 4
  • Georges Dagher
    • 2
  • Bruno Clément
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Hospital-Integrated Tumor BiobankPasteur HospitalNiceFrance
  2. 2.InsermNational Biobank InfrastructureParisFrance
  3. 3.Institut PasteurParisFrance
  4. 4.Institute of PathologyMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  5. 5.Inserm, Biological Resource CentrePontchaillou HospitalRennesFrance
  6. 6.Laboratory of Clinical and Experimental PathologyPasteur HospitalNice CedexFrance

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