VECT-HORUS is a biotechnology company that designs and develops peptide-based vectors that facilitate the delivery of drugs or imaging agents into organs, notably into the brain, and to tumors. The vectors target receptors involved in “Receptor Mediated Transport” (RMT, a physiological system for the transport into cells of endogenous substances). By combining drugs or imaging agents to its vectors, VECT-HORUS allows them to cross biological barriers that restrict access to their target, notably the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
The company has already established the proof of concept of its technology in animal models by vectorizing an endogenous neuropeptide, which led to a novel proprietary drug-candidate with neuroprotective properties. This first drug-candidate has now entered regulatory preclinical phase.
Founded in 2005, by Alexandre TOKAY, CEO, and Dr. Michel KHRESTCHATISKY, Scientific Advisor, VECT-HORUS is a spin-off of the neurobiology laboratory directed by Dr. Michel KHRESTCHATISKY (UMR7529, CNRS and Aix-Marseille University). Based in Marseille, France, the company has 17 employees, mostly in R&D, and develops academic collaborations with the CNRS, INSERM and CEA as well as industrial partnerships.
VECT-HORUS was recently identified by the CNRS as one of the 15 success stories among 1,000 spin-offs from its laboratories.
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) protects the central nervous system (CNS) from plasma fluctuations of endogenous, but also exogenous molecules, including those with therapeutic potential. The BBB’s restrictive properties are compensated by the presence of many specific mechanisms that provide transport of nutrients across the BBB.
VECT-HORUS has developed cellular tools and approaches, in particular rat and mouse syngeneic in vitro models of the BBB and blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB). These models can be used to assess:
Various types of molecules can be assessed such as nanoparticles, small molecules, peptides or large molecules including antibodies.
Monolayer of rodent (rat or mouse) primary endothelial cells isolated and purified from brain or spinal cord and co-cultured with rodent glial cells.
This model can be proposed in normal or in inflammatory conditions (tumor necrosis factor α treatment).
1- Passage across BBB:
2- BBB physiology:
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