Grégory Katz

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Grégory Katz

Grégory Katz-Bénichou (1971) is a French academic. Katz is currently professor at ESSEC Business School (Paris-Singapore),[1] chaired professor of the ESSEC Chair of Therapeutic Innovation,[2] and co-director of the ESSEC Institute of Health Economics & Management.[3] He also heads the Fondation Générale de Santé (fr), which promotes research in cell therapy and supports altruistic donations of umbilical cord blood stem cells. He is also Chairman of the Board of GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines’ Global Innovation Fund (IBe+).


Gregory Katz holds an MBA (1997), a doctorate in philosophy (2000) and a doctorate in pharmacy (1999). Elie Wiesel,[4] Nobel Peace Prize laureate[5] and professor at Boston University,[4] mentored his doctorate in philosophy and was a member of his thesis jury at the Université de Paris-Sorbonne.[6] In 2002, Katz published le Chiffre de la vie: réconcilier la génétique et l’humanisme[7] (310 p. Editions du Seuil[8]). In 2003, he became a permanent faculty member at ESSEC Business School (Paris-Singapore). In 2004, he was appointed chaired professor of the ESSEC Chair of Therapeutic Innovation, which he created that same year. As visiting professor at INSEAD[9] in 2004-2005 on the Singapore campus, he taught business ethics alongside Henri-Claude de Bettignies[10] at the Asian Center for Comparative Management. In 2006, Katz was a visiting professor at Bocconi University (Milan)[11] at the Center for Research on Health Care and Social Management.[12] In 2009 he was named co-director of the ESSEC Institute of Health Economics & Management.[13] From 2011 to 2013, he was Academic Director of the Executive Master Strategy & Management of Health Industries at ESSEC Executive Education.[14]

Gregory Katz is regularly solicited by health authorities for his expertise on bioethics and on the industrial development of healthcare innovations. He was consulted by the French Senate,[15] the Conseil d’Etat,[16] the European Parliament[17] (European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies) and UNESCO (Human Variome Project)[18]. He also advises public and private organizations (research institutes, patient associations, hospitals, drug and medical device corporations, insurance companies, and service providers). He has been a member of the first expert group of the French Institutional Review Board (CPP IDF3) since 2012.[19] Between 2009 and 2011, he was administrator of the European School of Surgery.[20] From 2004 to 2009, Gregory Katz worked alongside Eliane Gluckman as vice-president of the association Eurocord,[21] an international platform for clinical research on cord blood stem cell transplantation. Eurocord analyzes clinical data from more than 500 transplant centers in 56 countries around the world. In 2010, Eurocord became part of the French Agence de la biomédecine (fr),[22] which now heads its operations. Since 2012, Katz has also been Chairman of the Board of GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines’ (IBe+) Global Innovation Fund.[23] The fund is dedicated to supporting intrapreneurial projects that deliver value to patients, caregivers and the company.


Gregory Katz’s scope of research deals with the economic impact and ethical implications resulting from biomedical innovations. His primary focus is on the growth of personal genomics, companion diagnostics, and the development of regenerative medicine applications, in particular umbilical cord blood stem cell banks. His publications are at the crossroads of industrial economics, public health policy, organizational behavior, philosophy of science, and biomedical ethics.

As principal investigator, he has published a number of articles in health policy journals such as the Yale Journal of Public Health, Law and Ethics[24] and medical journals such as Transfusion.[25] He sits on several journal editorial boards including Philosophy of Management,[26] Journal of Methodology & Education for Clinical Innovation, and International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing.[27] He is solicited by editorial boards to review articles in management science and biomedical science journals. Katz collaborates on a regular basis with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health[28] on their teaching activities and on comparative research projects between Europe and the United States.

Gregory Katz was trained at Harvard Business School[29] by Michael Porter[30] in teaching health care with cases. He publishes case studies[31] that are taught in executive education programs using role-playing that involves the participants in concrete negotiation and crisis management situations.[32] His teaching deals with topics such as leadership,[33] ethical dilemmas in organizations,[34] and innovation management in the health industries.[35]

Reconciling genomics and humanism[edit]

In 2002, Gregory Katz-Bénichou published le Chiffre de la vie: réconcilier la génétique et l’humanisme (Editions du Seuil).[8] The book, a philosophical essay on DNA, was praised by critics and the general public alike.[36] Running counter to prevailing currents of thought, the author demonstrates that, where a microscope sees only blind mechanics, actually lies the Cipher of life - an extraordinary text where biochemical signs convey form and meaning. Plunging into the heart of this universal grammar, Katz criticizes the linguistic metaphors used in biology and their anthropomorphism. He formulates the hypothesis of a genetic protolanguage that existed before all human conscience, and whose gradual evolution enabled the emergence of verbal languages and their polymorphism.[37] “Behind the biochemical signs, is there a signature? If there is a program, is there a Programmer?” In light of the most recent scientific advances, Katz re-visits the debate on the origin of life, from biblical biology to the philosophical traditions of the great book of Nature. He analyzes the very idea of “creative chance” as a modern reformulation of the spontaneous generation theory. Beyond the current controversies, he demonstrates why the concepts of creation and evolution can be reconciled through the idea of “creative evolution”.

“But in this program, where do we put free will?” the author asks. Biological code, linguistic code, ethological code, ethical code… From bios to ethos, does the genome contain the Code of Codes at the root of our physical and psychological traits, including habits and behaviors such as addiction, appetite for risk, maternal instinct, aggressiveness or pair bonding? Science is only beginning to discover the subtlety of the program, yet Man is already seeking to reprogram it in an attempt to control its determinism. The final chapter of the book anticipates the eugenistic temptation that would reduce Man to the raw score of his genetic quotient. Katz anticipates the emergence of a genomic hygienism based on the public health costs generated by individuals with cacogenic predispositions. Through concrete illustrations from the medtech and biotech industries, he analyzes the expansion of human screening, where “the concept of prevention no longer means avoiding the appearance of the disease, but rather the appearance of the diseased individual.” Breaking with a transhumanist logic, Katz identifies how advances in stem cell research and personal genomics could heal Man without alienating his moral status. Written in a direct and lively style that is easy to understand, the book was selected by FNAC bookstores as the “best philosophical essay of 2003”.[38]

Contributions to the French debate on bioethics laws[edit]

In 2007, Gregory Katz became involved in the drafting of a bill sponsored by Senator Hermange in 2010 on umbilical tissue and cord blood stem cells.[39] Considered “biological waste”, the legal status of these stem cells was not clearly defined by French law.[40] The purpose of the bill was to amend this status and change it into a “therapeutic resource” implying the principles of consent, anonymity and donation.[41] Passed in 2011 by the French Senate and National Assembly as part of a general review of bioethical laws (article 7 of the government’s bill), this bill have since been transposed into the French Public Health Code.[42]

Fondation Générale de Santé[edit]

Gregory Katz heads the Fondation d’entreprise Générale de Santé, the French leader in private hospitalization.[43] Created in 2008, the Foundation has become the leading national player in the collection of cord blood stem cells for public banks.[44] The grafts are used to treat blood cancer and rare diseases. The foundation also supports researchers by providing them with biospecimens of cord blood stem cell for scientific usage. Since its creation, the foundation accounts for 12,000 collections performed by 400 midwives and obstetricians in 10 maternities working with 6 public banks. In June 2014, some 70 patients worldwide were transplanted using grafts collected by the Foundation. In partnership with Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, the Foundation develops a scientific network with roughly 3,000 units provided to 30 research teams (INSERM, CNRS, CEA, Institut Pasteur) for the advancement of their protocols in cell therapy. Through the Foundation, Katz is directly involved in supporting French research in tissue regeneration.[45]

The Fondation Générale de Santé organizes a Grand Prize for cell therapy and regenerative medicine,[46] in partnership with the French Academy of Sciences.[47] Inaugurated in 2012 in the presence of Nobel Prize laureate in Medicine Shinya Yamanaka,[48] the annual prize of 100,000 euros rewards scientific excellence in the field of tissue regeneration.[49] In 2013, the Fondation Générale de Santé awarded the prize to two INSERM researchers for their outstanding work on type 1 diabetes[50] and on corneal regeneration using iPS cells to treat visual deficiencies.[51] The award ceremony is held in the Grande Salle des Séances at the Institut de France, in the presence of the President of INSERM[52] and the Director General of the Agence de la Biomédecine.[53] In honor of its patronage actions, the Fondation Générale de Santé was granted the Grande Cause Nationale (fr) label delivered by the French Prime Minister,[54] and was awarded the 2012 Special Jury Prize by the Fédération de l’hospitalisation privée (fr).[55]

Scientific affiliations[edit]

  • Member of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics[56]
  • Member of the American Association of Blood Banks[57]
  • Member of the Academy Health[58]
  • Member of the Academy of Management[59]
  • Member of the European Haematology Association[60]
  • Member of the European Health Management Association[61]
  • Member of the European Bone Marrow Transplantation[62]
  • Membre of the Société Française d'Hématologie[63]
  • Membre of the Société Française et Francophone d'Ethique Médicale[64]
  • Membre of the Société Française de Greffe de Moelle et Thérapie Cellulaire[65]
  • Membre of the Société Française de Bio-ingénierie Cellulaire et Tissulaire[66]
  • Member of the International Health Economics Association[67]
  • Member of the World Marrow Donor Association[68]
  • Member of the Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society[69]


  • Katz received the San Benedetto Prize awarded in 2008 for his achievements in bioethics and humanism. Created in 2000, this international prize rewards outstanding contributions on political, social, theological and ethical issues in connection with the Christian world.[70] Past prize-winners include the President of the Italian National Bioethics Committee Francesco D’Agostigno (2002), Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki (2003), Irish European Parliament member Dana Scallon (2004), Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (2005), and Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Janne Haaland Matlary (2007).
  • Guest of honor at the 2010 Graduation Ceremony for doctors in pharmacy at University Paris-Descartes.[71]
  • Special Jury Trophy in 2012 awarded by the Fédération de l’Hospitalisation Privée.[55]
  • Guest of honor at the 2014 Solemn annual session of the French National Academy of Surgery.[72]


  • Katz G, Mills A, Garcia J et al. (March 2011). "Banking cord blood stem cells: attitude and knowledge of pregnant women in five European countries". Transfusion 51 (3): 578–86. doi:10.1111/j.1537-2995.2010.02954.x. PMID 21126259. 
  • Katz G, Schweitzer SO (2010). "Implications of genetic testing for health policy". Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 10 (1): 90–134. PMID 20229845. 
  • Katz G, Mills A (June 2010). "Cord blood banking in France: reorganising the national network". Transfusion and Apheresis Science 42 (3): 307–16. doi:10.1016/j.transci.2010.03.002. PMID 20395177. 
  • Marville L, Haye I, Katz G (2010). "Quel statut pour les banques de sang de cordon ombilical ?". Médecine et Droit 102: 81–5. 
  • Katz, Gregory (April 2008). "The Hypothesis of a Genetic Protolanguage: an Epistemological Investigation". Biosemiotics 1 (1): 57–73. doi:10.1007/s12304-008-9005-5. 
  • Katz, Gregory; Lenglet, Marc (2010). "Whistleblowing in French Corporations: Anatomy of a National Taboo". Philosophy of Management 9 (1): 103–22. doi:10.5840/pom20109120. 
  • Katz-Benichou G (2007). "Umbilical Cord Blood Banking: Economic & Therapeutic Challenges". International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management 8 (5): 464–477. 
  • Katz G., (2005) Comment transformer l’humain en sable, in Vers la fin de l’homme, sous la direction de C. Hervé et J. Rozenberg, De Boeck University, Bruxelles, pp. 127–144.
  • Katz-Bénichou, Grégory; Viens, Gérard (2005). "High-technology clusters in France: two unusual models – an empiric study". In Di Tommaso, Marco R.; Schweitzer, Stuart O. Health Policy and High-tech Industrial Development: Learning from Innovation in the Health Industry. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. pp. 258–77. ISBN 978-1-84542-456-5. 
  • Katz G. (2007), L’Inepte et l’Inapte, in Corps normalisés, sous la direction de C. Hervé et J. Rozenberg, De Boeck University, Bruxelles, 2007, pp. 313–330.[73]
  • G. Katz-Bénichou, Le chiffre de la vie : réconcilier la génétique et l’humanisme, Paris, Seuil, 2002 (ISBN 2020524007)[74]


  • FRANCE BLEU NATIONAL, Chronique « Action Santé », 4 janvier 2014[75]
  • EUROPE 1, émission « Le Grand Débat », 28 juillet 2013[76]
  • FRANCE CULTURE, émission « Du Grain à Moudre », 11 juillet 2013[77]
  • BIOFUTUR, « Cellules souches : les fausses promesses des banques commerciales », février 2013[78]
  • FRANCE 5, émission « Les Maternelles », interview du Pr. Gregory Katz, 6 décembre 2012[79]
  • LE FIGARO, « Prix Fondation Générale de Santé pour la thérapie cellulaire », 10 novembre 2012[80]
  • CORRIERE DELLA SERA, « Cosi noi (privati) aiutiamo le « bache del cordone » pubbliche », 14 octobre 2012[81]
  • France CULTURE, Emission « Le Champ des Possibles », 10 juin 2011[82]
  • IL MONDO, interview Prof. Gregory Katz, 8 avril 2011[83]
  • TF1, Journal télévisé de 20H (Claire Chazal), 30 janvier 2011[84]
  • FRANCE 5, Revu et Corrigé, 30 octobre 2010[85]
  • CORRIERE DELLA SERA, Piu chance per i biologi in cravatta, 12 mars 2010[86]
  • PUBLIC SENAT, Révision des lois de bioéthique, 26 octobre 2010[87]
  • CANAL PLUS, Special Investigation, 13 septembre 2010[88]
  • QUOTIDIEN DU MEDECIN, Les avis sont partagés sur les banques autologues, 10 décembre 2009[89]
  • LA RECHERCHE – LE MONDE, Se soigner selon ses gènes, Novembre-Décembre 2009[90]
  • GRANDES ECOLES MAGAZINE, Former les futurs décideurs de l’industrie de la santé, Novembre 2008[91]
  • CBC TV - ARTE, “The Man with the Golden Cells”, 2007[92]
  • IL FOGLIO, « Genio Nononstante I Suoi Geni », 1 Luglio 2006[93]
  • LES ECHOS, Bioéthique et cellules souches : sortir du dilemme, 8 juin 2006[94]


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