The French government has whipped up a budget plan that it hopes will create more startups while helping its maturing private biotechs achieve critical mass, especially though international acquisitions, so that they can reach the public markets faster.

Laurent Fabius, minister of economy, finance and industry, last week said the 2002 Loi de Finances will include about E150 million ($137 million) for high technology companies, with most of the money earmarked for biotech. Fabius said the BDPME, or bank for development of small and medium enterprises, will back the fund to guarantee long-term loans to biotech.