VECT-HORUS is a biotechnology company founded in 2005 by Alexandre Tokay, CEO, and Dr. Michel Khrestchatisky, Scientific Counsel. The Company developed inventions and technologies derived from the BBB and Neuroinflammation Team and the UMR7259-NICN laboratory previously directed by Michel Khrestchatisky that has now become the UMR7051-Neurophysiopathology Institute (INP). VECT-HORUS has established a long-term highly efficient collaboration with the NICN laboratory and is now member of the INP in the context of a “Laboratoire Commun de Recherche (LCR)” as the basis for a solid academic-industry partnership. VECT-HORUS has also interactions with other academic laboratories in Marseille (INT, CERIMED, CRCM, ICR etc.), and Paris region (CEA Saclay, Inserm Paris etc.). The company has established a number of research partnerships with biothechnology and pharma companies. With 28 employees, 26 of whom are scientists, VECT-HORUS develops 5 research platforms including Genetic Engineering and Vector discovery and optimization, Cellular Models (in vitro rodent and human BBB models), Chemistry / Medicinal Chemistry, Cancer and Pharmacology. Since its inception, VECT-HORUS has raised over €20 M, including €15 M from private investors and €5 M through various types of public funding (grants and subsidies in collaborative research programs financed by OSEO, FUI, ANR, Research Tax Credit etc.).
VECT-HORUS’ activities are focused in the area of drug delivery to the brain. Indeed, the brain vascular system is unique in its potential to restrict very effectively the passage of toxic molecules and infectious agents from the blood to the nervous tissue. However, this vascular system also prevents the passage of more than 98% of the drugs developed to date and is known as the "blood-brain barrier” (BBB). The BBB represents a real technological barrier for delivery to the brain of imaging agents and drugs developed to treat serious brain diseases (neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, brain tumours, etc.). VECT-HORUS’ technology can also be applied for targeting other organs and various tumours outside the CNS. The transport of molecules by receptors (Receptor Mediated Transport or RMT) is considered as an effective and safe way to cross the BBB. VECT-HORUS, in collaboration with the BBB and Neuroinflammation Team of the INP has developed the VECTrans® technology platform, unique in Europe, for the development of molecular "vectors" that facilitate the transport to the brain of drugs or imaging/diagnostic agents via RMT. This technological platform addresses the needs of the pharmaceutical industry, it has the potential to reduce the attrition rate of CNS drugs in development. Therapies for CNS diseases are now considered one of the most promising in terms of growth in sales, and CNS drug delivery technologies should be a major driver for the development of new CNS therapeutic and imaging strategies. VECT-HORUS and the BBB and Neuroinflammation Team have discovered, validated and optimized several vector families, covering several receptors with various properties allowing adaptation of the vectorization process on a case-by-case basis. The vectors and resulting drug conjugates are protected by several families of patents and patent applications shared with the CNRS and AMU. Some of these patents have been granted in Europe, in the USA, in Japan, China etc.