In 2020 and beyond, the medical biology laboratory market experienced a notable boom, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a significant increase in demand for PCR and antigen tests. During this period, the attractiveness of the market surged for investors such as Ardian and BPI, who capitalized on its strong profitability. However, despite strong sales growth, the market underwent significant restructuring, with a considerable reduction in the number of laboratories due to mergers and acquisitions. Nevertheless, the number of sampling sites and employment levels remained stable. Sales are down on the peak years of the pandemic, but are expected to be well above pre-pandemic reference levels.

The market is mainly operated by large groups such as Biogroup, Cerba and Inovie, which have a combined market share of 40%. Despite market consolidation, independent laboratories have remained resilient, accounting for around 30-35% of the market.

Dynamic demand in the medical laboratories market

The medical laboratories landscape has seen substantial changes in recent times, with demand strongly influenced by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The French market, for example, has seen a remarkable increase in revenues, mainly due to the high volume of Covid-19 PCR tests performed during the health crisis period. Between May 2020 and the end of 2022, laboratories performed around 120 million Covid PCR tests, contributing around 25% of their sales. This impressive growth, representing billions in sales, has attracted investors such as Ardian and BPI, who see the sector as highly profitable.

At the same time, although the sector has seen a contraction in the number of operational laboratories over the past decade, mergers and acquisitions have been active, leading to a more consolidated market structure. For example, Innovie's acquisition of Biocolinic Laboratories in June 2022 illustrates this trend towards consolidation in the sector. Demand for services has also had an impact on the workforce in the medical biology sector. Although the number of laboratories has declined, employment has remained relatively stable, reflecting efficiency gains and perhaps the increased scale of operations in large conglomerates.

as the industry normalizes after the crisis, profits should realign somewhat, but continue to exceed pre-pandemic levels. The trajectory of the French medical laboratories market over the period 2022-2023 indicates a decline in revenues compared to the peak pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. Regulatory influences are also set to recalibrate the sector's financial dynamics, with initiatives such as the Social Security Financing Bill set to cut routine medical biology tariffs by around 250 million euros, creating tensions between the government and industry players.

Consequently, while demand for medical biology laboratory services has been explosive in recent times, largely due to an unprecedented global health emergency, the market is showing signs of weakening.cent global health emergency, the market is showing signs of returning to more sustainable levels of demand, albeit at an increased baseline compared to the pre-Covid era.

Key players in the French medical laboratories market

The French medical biology market is not only vast in scope, but also highly dynamic, with a few core groups establishing a strong hold on market share. Biogroup, Cerba and Inovie are significant forces, collectively holding around 40% of the market.

  • Biogroup stands out as a key player with its strategic acquisitions, including notable groups such as Laborizon and Dyomedea-Neolab. The breadth of the company's reach is evident in its network of sites, bringing together thousands of technicians and biologists across France. Its aggressive expansion and consolidation activities have played a key role in strengthening its market presence.

  • Cerba, another leading player, strengthened its network through the integration of Labexa, a remarkable consolidation of several networks to form a group with a significant number of sites and employees in the main departments of the Aquitaine/Pyrénées region. The acquisition of Labexa was marked by fierce competition, reflecting the aggressive landscape where laboratory titans vie for supremacy.

  • Inovie, with its innovative approach and significant market share, has also been active on the acquisition front, acquiring well-established players including Biofutur and Bioclinic. The acquisition of the latter is particularly significant, with its network centered on Paris and the Île-de-France region. Inovie's ability to grow and secure investment, as demonstrated by Ardian's involvement, further strengthens its weight in the industry.

  • General laboratories such as Synlab, Unilabs and Eurofins also contribute to market diversity. Although their scope of action extends beyond human health-related activities, they considerably influence the medical biology sector thanks to their wide range of services and their international links.

Watching these giants expand through mergers and acquisitions, it's clear that financial strength, strategic collaboration and investment attractiveness are key to gaining and maintaining a foothold in this highly competitive environment. Their ability to adapt and grow through strategic mergers is a testament to the powerful combination of entrepreneurial acumen, scientific know-how and fiscal prudence that drives the French biology industry.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

Medical biology laboratories, formerly called medical analysis laboratories, are places whose function is the realization of diagnoses and medical follow-ups from samples of various human biological fluids. They are managed by biologists.

The French market includes suppliers of reagents and consumables (gloves, masks, etc.), various laboratory groups, sampling sites, technical platforms and finally government agencies (the French Health Insurance).

The turnover of the activity in France has experienced strong growth thanks in particular to Covid PCR tests (120 million tests were performed between May 2020 and the end of 2022, generating strong revenues for the laboratories and representing 25% of the laboratories' turnover). This strong growth attracts many investors, such as Ardian or the BPI, who see a high profitability.

At the same time, the market is undergoing restructuring, the number of laboratories has dropped considerably over the last 10 years and mergers and acquisitions have multiplied. For example, in June 2022, Innovie acquired Biocolinic laboratories. Nevertheless, the number of sampling sites and the number of employees remain stable despite the rationalization of the sector.

In 2022 and 2023, the sector's revenue is down compared to 2020 and 2021 but should reach a level well above 2019.

In this context, where medical biology laboratories have benefited from strong revenues during the health crisis and where the Assurance Maladie has disbursed 7.3 billion euros to finance tests [Alternatives économiques], the Social Security financing bill for 2023 aims to reduce the fees for routine medical biology in order to achieve savings of 250 million euros. The announcement of this measure has led to strong tensions between the government and representatives of the sector.

1.2 Health expenditure in the EU

Europe presents a rather large panorama of medical biology laboratories. There are many differences between countries. These differences are reflected in the health care systems and the divergence in health care spending by European country.

An article from EM consulte provides a typology of health systems in Europe:

The Bismarckian wage-based ...

1.3 Medical laboratories in the consumption of medical care and goods

Each year, the Institute of Information and Professional Conjunctures (***) publishes a report on the Extra-Hospital Medical Biology Laboratories.

Similarly, each year the DREES publishes the results of the health accounts. The **** edition: Health spendings in **** reports and updates health data.

The annual reports of the I+C (***) and the DREES data ...

1.4 The profession's turnover

The latest I+C annual industry reports provide us with the evolution of the turnover of medical laboratories.

evolution of the turnover of medical laboratories (***) France, **** / **** - ****, billion euros Source: ****

Revenues have risen sharply in recent years after a stable period to reach €** billion in ****. This strong increase in revenue in ...

1.5 Biology laboratories in high demand in 2020

Analytical laboratories have been at the heart of the global pandemic. It is clear that they have not suffered too much from the crisis benefiting both from the continuity of activity even during containment but also from the increased demand for Covid-** testing.

The test was widely consumed during the year ...

2 Analysis of the demand

2.1 Client profile and test use by disease

Biological tests throughout life

In December ****, Medicare published Benchmarks - Issue **, which conducts a focus on the medical biology sector in ****. According to this issue, in ****, a medical biology test was prescribed for nearly ** million people, or **% of the population.

Distribution of persons having had a medical biology analysis prescription by ...

2.2 The main prescribers of biological analyses

Benchmarks - Issue ** (***) also presents **** data for the most active private prescribers of medical biology procedures.

Source: ****

General practitioners are therefore the largest prescribers (***). Gynecologists, cardiologists, and anesthesiologists come next. It can be stated that the majority of procedures prescribed by general practitioners are low-cost procedures: in fact, they prescribe */* of ...

2.3 The star acts of the demand: amount and volume

The most reimbursed procedures in ****

The I+C branch report reveals the ** most reimbursed medical biology procedures in ****.

Source: ****

The top procedures in the ranking changes very little. The most reimbursed examinations are mainly Covid-** tests (***) and general check-ups such as haemograms and ionograms, which are blood tests.

For haemograms (***). In ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Local sampling sites: a constant territorial network

The profession in the region includes all the local sampling sites and the laboratories that manage these sites. The sites are registered in the Insee nomenclature under the following NAF code, **.**B: Medical analysis laboratories .

The ACOSS database of the national URSSAF network allows us to obtain the evolution of the ...

3.2 Laboratories: mergers and rationalization of the sector, key players

Number of laboratories

The I+C industry report shows this decrease in the number of laboratories with at least one employee.

change in the number of laboratories (***) employing at least one employee France, **** - ****, in units Source: ****

Over the past ** years, the profession has restructured. Faced with the challenges of cost ...

3.3 Financing of medical biology laboratories

Overview and ****-**** changes in the financing of the CSBM for analysis laboratories

The financing of medical laboratories is provided by various actors: social security, complementary organizations and households. The table below shows the breakdown of the financing of the CSBM for analysis laboratories according to the various public and private ...

3.4 Salary structure

Gender of the workforce

The activity report of the sector conducted by the I+C in ****, allows us to approach the panorama of the number of employees in the sector in ****.

Breakdown of analysis laboratory employees by gender France, ****, in % Source: ****

The activity therefore employs a large majority of women. This ...

3.5 Business expenses: payroll and training

The wage bill

*.* billion in ****, i.e. **% of the profession's turnover. The proportion of laboratories with a profit-sharing agreement in **** is **% and **% of profit-sharing agreements have resulted in a payment.

Training expenses

The system that allows professionals in the sector to train their employees is the training plan. In ****, the ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Breakdown of medical biology expenditure by pathology: a range of diagnostics

Benchmarks - Issue ** (***) presents medical biology expenditures by pathology

Breakdown of medical biology expenditures by pathology France, ****, in * or analgesic or anti-inflammatory treatment ** : with or without pathologies, treatments or maternity ***: chronic respiratory diseases (***). Source: ****

Nearly **% of laboratory spending is fairly generalist spending that is not related to a specific pathology. These ...

4.2 Evolution of the CSBM price index for medical analysis laboratories

The **** edition of the results of the health accounts (***) reports the evolution of the price index in the consumption of care and medical goods for analysis laboratories.

annual change in the CSBM price index for analysis laboratories France, ****-****, index *** in **** and % Source: ****

This index has therefore been falling steadily for ...

4.3 The two main types of laboratories

Two types of laboratories can be distinguished on the market:

Routine biology laboratories

These are the non-specialized laboratories that are the most present on the territory. Their role is to respond to a standard demand for medical analysis. These laboratories are often grouped around technical platforms. A place that gathers equipment ...

5 Regulation

5.1 Legislative developments

History of legislations

The LBMs are essentially operated in the form of liberal practice structures (***). 

Decree of ****: in order to find a balance between the need for financing and professional independence, this decree :

Limits the holding of capital and voting rights authorized to non-biologists to **%; Limits the participation of non practising ...

5.2 General regulations

Constraints to the installation:

The professional must have a State diploma of Doctor of Medicine or Pharmacy as well as a Diploma of Specialized Studies in Medical Biology.

To set up a company, the majority of the capital must be held by one or more biologists in charge of the company ...

List of charts

  • Health Expenditure of EU Countries
  • Consumption of medical care and goods
  • Breakdown of CSBM by expenditure category
  • Evolution of CSBM for analysis laboratories
  • Distribution of persons having had a prescription for a medical analysis by sex
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Latest news

Eurofins, the testing champion - 20/07/2023
  • In 1987, Gilles Martin founded Eurofins, based in Nantes.
  • In 1996, Eurofins establishes a presence in the United States.
  • In 2011, the U.S. entity reported sales of $100 million and employed around 1,000 people.
  • Eurofins has made over 400 acquisitions since its IPO in 1997
  • The company carries out 200,000 different tests and analyzes 450 million samples every year
  • Eurofins' sales and earnings reached €6.7 billion and €610 million respectively in 2020
  • Eurofins joined the CAC 40 in September 2021, with a market capitalization of €11.9 billion
  • Eurofins' main markets are Europe and North America, which account for 85% of its sales.
BioMérieux boosts capacity at its French plants - 27/06/2023
  • BioMérieux investment plan: 300 million euros over five years
  • BioMérieux sales: 3.6 billion euros
  • BioMérieux workforce: 13,800 people
  • Test kit market growth: 10% per year
  • Volume of kits assembled by BioMérieux: 130 to 140 million per year
Ouest Biologie strengthens its position in Morbihan - 24/05/2023
  • The group has 30 different locations.
  • 500 employees
  • Ouest Biologie's annual sales are €55 million.
  • 31 biologists are partners in Ouest Biologie.
  • The group employs a total of 40 qualified biologists.
  • Independent medical analysis laboratories like Ouest Biologie still control 30-35% of the French market
  • In 2008, there were 5,000 medical analysis laboratories, now there are just over 400 in operation.
  • Biogroup is a leader in the sector, with 11,000 employees and 930 laboratories.
bioMérieux: end of Covid brings testing champion back down to earth - 09/03/2023
  • Family-owned group with 13,000 employees
  • Annual profit reduced from €601 in 2021 to €452 million in 2022, despite sales increasing by 6.3% to €3.6 billion due to the acquisition of US ultra-rapid antibiotic resistance testing company Specific Diagnostics
BioMérieux invests in an ultra-fast antibiotic resistance test. - 20/05/2022
  • BioMérieux is the world leader in antibiotic resistance testing, with a 40% market share.
  • The antibiotic resistance testing market represents 10% of bioMérieux sales.
  • Acquisition of California-based Specific Diagnostics
  • Specific Diagnostics' test is sufficiently innovative for bioMérieux to have triggered the acquisition of the company.
  • The California-based company has 82 employees.
  • BioMérieux forecasts sales of $60 million over the next five years,

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Synlab Groupe
Cerba Healthcare
Eurofins Groupe
BioMerieux Groupe
Ouest Biologie

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