For the development
of effective, safe,
and accessible vaccines
for the greatest number

For the development of effective,
safe and accessible vaccines
for the greatest number

ViroCoVax is a French
biopharmaceutical company

Implanted in Tours, the company’s mission is to develop safe and efficient vaccines in order to protect as many people as possible from viral infectious diseases such as hepatitis C or Zika virus disease.

In order to fulfil its mission, ViroCoVax relies on the know-how and technology developed by the Research Unit « Morphogénèse et Antigénicité du VIH et des virus des Hépatites » (U1269 Université de Tours – INSERM) headed by Professor Philippe Roingeard.

An unmet
medical need

Hepatitis C

A virus responsible of cirrhosis and primary liver cancer

MILLIONS OF INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED

71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection

A CONSEQUENT SOCIETAL COST

estimated to $5 billions per annum in United States

The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus. It can also be transmitted sexually but this mode of transmission is uncommon.

The infection is mostly asymptomatic, but the virus will progress silently. The liver cells will gradually be replaced by fibrous scare tissue. Then, Fibrosis can progress into cirrhosis and develop into liver cancer.

  • 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection
  • Between 15% and 30% of those chronically infected will develop cirrhosis.
  • Each year, 399,000 people died from hepatitis C
  • Each year, 1,75 million new infections in the World including 20-40 000 in the US and 5 000 in France
  • 80% of infected people are unaware of it
  • The economic cost of hepatitis C is estimated to $5 billions per annum in United States

There is currently no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C. Antiviral medicines are currently available and since 2014, a new generation of antivirals (Direct-Acting Antivirals) was marketed and can cure more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C.

However, the access to diagnostic and the cost of HCV medicines impede access to treatment, not helping to reverse the global epidemic.

Zika

An emerging disease with tragic consequences

CURRENTLY NO TREATMENT OR VACCINE

despite that 70 countries have reported evidence of Zika virus transmission

A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY ACCORDING TO WHO BETWEEN 2016-2017

Increasing outbreaks

Zika virus belongs to the same virus family that HCV. The virus is transmitted via mosquitoes bite from Aedes species and by sexual contacts.

First discovered in 1947, Zika virus has spread widely throughout the World, especially in the southern hemisphere but not only since infections have been also reported in the United-States and Europe.

Symptoms are generally mild (fever, rash, muscle and joint pain) and typically last one week.

However, severe complications can occur. Thus, there is growing evidence that Zika virus may also trigger Guillain Barré syndrome (attack of the peripheral nervous system causing pain and paralysis). Moreover, for pregnant women, Zika virus is able to infect the fetus and cause birth defects such as microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.

Thus, during the Zika outbreak, in Brazil, WHO has classified ZIKA disease as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Now, WHO prepares for a long-term fight.

  • 70 countries have reported evidence of Zika virus transmission.
  • Increasing outbreaks :
    • In 2007, 5 000 infections in French Micronesia,
    • In 2013-14, 55 000 infections in French Polynesia,
    • In 2016, between 440 000 et 1 500 000 infections in Brazil.
  • 2 610 cases of congenital symptoms have been reported during the outbreak in Brazil
  • 10 times greater risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome in individuals infected with the Zika virus.
  • Aedes mosquitoes are still colonizing the World. Thus, in France, the tiger mosquito that appeared in 2004 affects now 66 departments.

There is currently no treatment or vaccine against Zika virus disease.

An unmet
medical need

Un unmet medical need

Hepatitis C

A virus responsible of cirrhosis and primary liver cancer

MILLIONS OF INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED

71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection

A CONSEQUENT SOCIETAL COST

estimated to $5 billions per annum in United States

The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus. It can also be transmitted sexually but this mode of transmission is uncommon.

The infection is mostly asymptomatic, but the virus will progress silently. The liver cells will gradually be replaced by fibrous scare tissue. Then, Fibrosis can progress into cirrhosis and develop into liver cancer.

  • 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection
  • Between 15% and 30% of those chronically infected will develop cirrhosis
  • Each year, 399,000 people died from hepatitis C
  • Each year, 1,75 million new infections in the World including 20-40 000 in the US and 5 000 in France
  • 80% of infected people are unaware of it
  • The economic cost of hepatitis C is estimated to $5 billions per annum in United States

currently no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C. Antiviral medicines are currently available and since 2014, a new generation of antivirals (Direct-Acting Antivirals) was marketed and can cure more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C.

However, the access to diagnostic and the cost of HCV medicines impede access to treatment, not helping to reverse the global epidemic.

Zika

An emerging disease with tragic consequences

CURRENTLY NO TREATMENT OR VACCINE

despite that 70 countries have reported evidence of Zika virus transmission

A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY ACCORDING TO WHO BETWEEN 2016-2017

Increasing outbreaks

Zika virus belongs to the same virus family that HCV. The virus is transmitted via mosquitoes bite from Aedes species and by sexual contacts.

First discovered in 1947, Zika virus has spread widely throughout the World, especially in the southern hemisphere but not only since infections have been also reported in the United-States and Europe.

Symptoms are generally mild (fever, rash, muscle and joint pain) and typically last one week.

However, severe complications can occur. Thus, there is growing evidence that Zika virus may also trigger Guillain Barré syndrome (attack of the peripheral nervous system causing pain and paralysis). Moreover, for pregnant women, Zika virus is able to infect the fetus and cause birth defects such as microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.

Thus, during the Zika outbreak, in Brazil, WHO has classified ZIKA disease as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Now, WHO prepares for a long-term fight.

  • 70 countries have reported evidence of Zika virus transmission
  • Increasing outbreaks :
    • In 2007, 5 000 infections in French Micronesia
    • In 2013-14, 55 000 infections in French Polynesia
    • In 2016, between 440 000 et 1 500 000 infections in Brazil
  • 2 610 cases of congenital symptoms have been reported during the outbreak in Brazil
  • Aedes mosquitoes are still colonizing the World. Thus, in France, the tiger mosquito that appeared in 2004 affects now 66 departments

There is currently no treatment or vaccine against Zika virus disease.

Our products

Proof-of-concept

CMC Development

Non clinical development

Clinical development

HEPATITIS C
ZIKA
HEPATITIS C
ZIKA

The ViroCoVax technology

Our technology is currently protected by two patent families

A hepatitis B
vaccine approach

Unlike Hepatitis C and Zika virus Disease, several hepatitis B vaccines are marketed.

The first one of these vaccines has been engineered by Professor Philippe Maupas, at the University of Tours. Since then, new generations of vaccines have been registered and more than one billion doses have been sold.

All these vaccines are based on the ability of its major envelope protein (the S protein, which contains 4 transmembrane domains) to self-assembly into small virus like particles. These particles generate in vaccinated people a strong immune response that will protect them against infections.

the S protein, which contains 4 transmembrane domains

An innovative concept for a bivalent vaccine

A bivalent vaccine candidate against both Hepatitis B Virus and Hepatitis C Virus has been elaborated by the Unit MAVIVH of the University of Tours. This team has developed an innovative concept based on hepatitis B vaccine. By genetic engineering, one of the transmembrane domains of the S protein of VHB was replaced by the full-length envelope proteins from Hepatitis C virus in the appropriate conformation.

This bivalent vaccine candidate fully demonstrated its efficiency to prevent hepatitis B and Hepatitis C in animal models.

One of the transmembrane domains of the S protein of VHB was replaced by the full-length envelope proteins from Hepatitis C virus in the appropriate conformation

Meet the team

Édouard Sèche

CEO

Holds a PhD in cellular and Molecular Biology. Édouard joined ViroCoVax as CEO.

Previously, he worked as Project Manager at the CNRS and, then, as Chief Scientific Officer at VitamFero, an innovative biotech company whose mission is the engineering and development of veterinary vaccines. He is also one of the co-founders of Acticor Biotech which develops an effective and safe antibody against stroke.

Philippe Roingeard

PHARMACIST-SCIENTIST

PharmD, Philippe heads the Unit « Morphogenesis and Antigenicity of HIV and Hepatitis Virus » (Unit 1259 University of Tours – INSERM).

Internationally recognized, his team works on fundamental aspects related to VIH and hepatitis virus but also on applied research projects, in particular the development of innovative vaccines strategies.

Philippe is the author of more than a hundred publication in international scientific journals and the inventor of two patent families. For all his research, Philippe was awarded the Prix de l’Académie de Médecine, the Prix de la Fondation de France and the Grand Prix de l’Académie Nationale de Pharmacie.

They talk about us

Le Monde
Le Monde21 décembre 2019
Read More
« Je me battrai jusqu’à la fin de ma carrière ! » Le combat du virologue Philippe Roingeard : développer un vaccin contre l’hépatite C. A dix ans de la retraite, il ne lâche rien. Comme lui, plusieurs chercheurs planchent sur un tel projet, du Canada à l’Australie. Les plus avancés, une collaboration anglo-américaine, ont annoncé l’échec de leur stratégie vaccinale en mai dernier. Celle de Philippe Roingeard, différente, pourrait constituer une alternative : lui porte le seul projet français identifié par l’Agence nationale de recherche sur le sida et les hépatites virales (ANRS).... Continue reading on the website
Les Echos
Les Echos2 Nov. 2018
Read More
A l'université de Tours, l'équipe du laboratoire Mavivh - Morphogénèse et antigénicité du VIH et des virus des hépatites - de l'Inserm, dirigée par le professeur Philippe Roingeard, a utilisé un vaccin existant contre l'hépatite B et l'a modifié par génie génétique jusqu'à lui faire exprimer des antigènes de l'hépatite C. Un premier brevet a été déposé, dès 2009, pour protéger le principe actif de ce vaccin ambivalent, c'est-à-dire agissant sur les deux hépatites. « La phase suivante... Continue reading on the website
La Nouvelle République
La Nouvelle République13 juillet 2018
Read More
La start-up tourangelle de biomédicaments Virocovax est lauréate du 20e concours national d’aide à la création d’entreprises i-Lab. Elle a été récompensée pour son projet de développer des candidats vaccins contre le virus de l’hépatite C et le virus Zika. Son directeur fondateur, le Dr Edouard Sèche, peut s’appuyer sur les travaux de l’unité Inserm U 1259 de l’université de Tours et du Pr Roingeard, récompensé par l’Académie de médecine en 2014, qui ont mis au point un vaccin bivalent pour les hépatites B et C... Continue reading on the website
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Scientific publications

Our partners

The Unit « Morphogenesis and Antigenicity of HIV and Hepatitis Virus » (Unit 1259 University of Tours – INSERM) is the main scientific partner of ViroCoVax. The Unit owns the technology and know-how used by ViroCoVax.

BPI France supports our entrepreneurial project and has granted us funding through a French Tech Emergence Grant and an Innovation Grant.

ViroCoVax is awardee of the Concours National de Création d’Entreprises Innovantes i-Lab 2018 organized by the French Ministry of Research and BPI France.

Région Centre Val de Loire supports our Research and Development programs by funding the Unit 1259 in the framework of the program “Ambition Recherche et Développement 2020 Biomédicament”.

The University of Tours encourages the creation of companies, especially ViroCoVax. It has granted the company an exclusive worldwide right to exploit the technology.

Recruitment

Take part in developing the success of tomorrow.
As part of our continuous development, we are always looking for new talents!

Contact

ViroCoVax
8, rue Honoré de Balzac
37000 Tours, France

Tel : +33 6 19 65 45 23

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