Its all about barriers

The central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, is endowed with a unique vascular system compared to other tissues and organs. It restricts very effectively the passage of toxic molecules and infectious agents from the blood to the nervous tissue and is known as the "blood-brain barrier” (BBB). The BBB represents a large surface of potential exchange between the blood and nervous tissue, however, because of its specific properties, the BBB is also a major obstacle to the use of drugs to treat CNS disorders. An estimated 98% of all active drugs and virtually all biomolecules developed by the biopharmaceutical industry, including peptides, proteins and therapeutic antibodies, do not cross the BBB. The BBB thus represents a real technological barrier for delivery to the brain of imaging agents and drugs developed to treat serious brain diseases (neurodegenerative diseases-NDDs- including Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumours, etc.). Membranes of various cell types in different organs and diseased tissues such as tumours can also be difficult to cross for efficient drug delivery. The scientific approach of VECT-HORUS is based on the principle that complex biological barriers, the first of which the BBB, are not only physical barriers, but also functional barriers whose natural transport mechanisms may be advantageously used to deliver drugs or imaging agents into their target territory: specific cell type, organ, brain, tumour.

Mission breaking barriers

To bypass biological barriers and thus reduce the attrition rate of drugs and increase drug or diagnosis efficiency, VECT-HORUS invests its efforts in targeted delivery by conjugating therapeutics or imaging agents to “molecular vectors” that specifically target receptors involved in Receptor Mediated Transport (RMT, a physiological system for the transport into cells of endogenous substances). This targeting approach is presently considered as one of the most effective and safest way to by-pass cell barriers for delivering biomolecules to the brain, to target tumours and diseased tissues. The company has already established the proof of concept of its technology in animal models by vectorizing various molecules including small molecules, peptides and large molecules such as antibodies.

Leader ambition

Horus means « the one above » and is an egyptian symbol of protection and recovery that VECT-HORUS ambitions for its vectors and conjugates. VECT-HORUS has become a major player in the field of drug delivery technologies of therapeutics and diagnostics by designing and developing vectors. The company opens new avenues in the treatment and imaging of CNS diseases and cancers thanks to its cutting-edge expertise in each of the strategic following development steps:

  • Vector discovery
    • Identification and validation of target receptors involved in RMT
    • Screening and vector identification
  • Vector and conjugate development
    • Chemistry, vector optimisation
    • Chemical coupling of drugs and imaging agents using different conjugation strategies
    • Genetic engineering of biomolecules
  • In vitro BBB models & transport studies
    • Screening of drugs and vectorized-drugs across BBB models based on rodent and human iPSCs cells
    • Binding, endocytosis and intracellular traficking
  • Pharmacology & in vivo studies
    • Pharmacokinetics and biodistribution in various organs
    • Efficacy in animal models (CNS diseases, in particular neurodegenerative diseases and cancer models)

VECT-HORUS was identified by the CNRS as one of the 15 success stories among 1,000 spin-offs from its laboratories and received the Frost & Sullivan 2016 Leadership award for its VECTrans® innovative technology.