Our mission

We discover and develop new therapies to treat and cure patients suffering from deadly and debilitating diseases, such as cancer.

Company overview

Ecrins Therapeutics is a clinical-stage Biotech company that develops a pipeline of innovative drug candidates. Our lead product ET-D5 is a first-in-class small molecule active against several oncology indications. ET-D5 is currently in the regulatory preclinical stage and scheduled to enter the first-in-human clinical trial in 2019. The translational clinical trial in canine patients started in 2018 and is ongoing.

Our history

Incorporated in July 2010, Ecrins Therapeutics was founded by experts in molecular and cell biology, discovery of bioactive small molecules, and clinical oncology. The research conducted since 2004 at INSERM in the group of Dr Andrei POPOV has been pioneering a new approach to the drug discovery engine, based on the phenotypical screening for the traits specific for cancer cells. Initially, the research was performed in close collaboration with chemists of the Institut Curie/CNRS (Paris). This teamwork resulted in the identification of several drug candidates, among which the family of the ET-D5 drug candidate.

Prior to the creation of the company, the project was awarded the “Proof of concept” grant by the “Canceropôle Lyon Auvergne Rhône-Alpes” (CLARA), allowing the founders to establish the in vivo proof-of-concept in several animal models of human cancers. After having filed a patent in March 2010, the idea of a start-up came around and Ecrins Therapeutics was born in July that same year, founded by Andrei POPOV, Aurélie JUHEM, and Professor François BERGER.

Today the company is developing both new small molecule therapeutics and therapeutic antibodies, all first-in-class, in various oncology areas with high unmet medical needs. Ecrins is based in Grenoble, France. Since its inception, Ecrins’ management team has raised more than 5M € for its development.

Management team

Andrei Popov
Andrei PopovCEO

Trained initially as a physician Andrei graduated from the Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy in 1988. He then worked as a doctoral and postdoctoral fellow respectively at the Babraham Insitute in Cambridge, UK, and at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. He received his PhD in biology in 1997 for his work on the creation of transgenic mice carrying and expressing functional germ-line shaped human immunoglobulin loci. A European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) fellow during his spell at EMBL, Andrei became a laureate of the Inserm program “Avenir” in 2003. This grant allowed him to establish an independent research group at Inserm in Grenoble, France, with a focus on the mechanisms of cell division and bioactive small molecules, both fields relevant to oncology. To date, Andrei has authored 25 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, obtained 10 research grants, and is the named inventor on 2 patents.
Andrei followed the business courses at the Grenoble business incubator GRAIN and a business course for the winners of the National Competition for the setting up of innovative businesses at EM Lyon. In 2016 Andrei obtained a Bordeaux University Diploma in the specialty “Methods of clinical research”.

 

Aurélie Juhem
Aurélie JuhemCOO

Trained as a biologist, Aurélie Juhem earned her PhD in cell biology in 2008 from the Joseph Fourier University. After spending 2 years in a lab focused on intestinal chronic diseases, she decided to turn towards cancer research by joining Dr. Popov’s group for her thesis. During her time there, she established an original and rigorous drug-screening algorithm that lead to the discovery of a number of bioactive small molecules. Her PhD work resulted in the identification and characterization of a first-in-class synthetic inhibitor with anti-vascular activity and an original target. This molecule and a series of related anticancer compounds was patented by the Joseph Fourier University and Institut Curie/CNRS. To date, Aurélie has published 10 peer-review papers and is the named inventor on 1 patent.
Trained in toxicology in 2014 at the Claude Bernard University (Lyon), she also obtained a Bordeaux University Diploma in the specialty “Methods of clinical research”. Co-founder of Ecrins Therapeutics, she has held the role of R&D Director until February 2016 before becoming COO of the company.

 

Scientific advisory board

Jean-Pierre Armand
Jean-Pierre Armand

Dr Jean-Pierre Armand focuses his cancer research on the field of the new mechanisms of oncogenesis and early drug development.

Jean-Pierre Armand MD, MSc, is certified in Medical Oncology at the University of Toulouse III and the University of Paris XI. After a research fellow position in Columbia University New York, Dr. Armand joined the Claudius Regaud Institut  in Toulouse where he was head of Medical oncology until 1984. For the following 23 years at the Institut Gustave Roussy (IGR) in Paris, he was successively CEO of the IGR3 Hospital, head of the Department of Medical oncology at IGR2, and finally CMO of the Dept. of Innovation and Development at IGR. Recently General Director of the Institut Claudius Regaud in Toulouse (2007 -2012), Dr Armand is now back in Paris as senior consultant in the drug development department (DITEP) at GUSTAVE ROUSSY cancer campus Grand Paris University Hospital.

Although an expert in breast, head&neck, and neuro oncologies, the first field of Dr Armand was early drug development (Phases I and II). Founder of the IGR Phase I Unit (Ditep) in the early 80s, he conducted the first-in-human Phase I clinical trials of numerous drugs including now classical cytotoxics – Irinotecan, Oxaliplatin, Taxotere, Navelbine, Vinflunine, and more recently, targeted therapies such as Sutent, Sorafenib, and Temsirolismus. Dr. Armond (co)authored more than 300 medical and scientific peer-reviewed articles and has received numerous awards.

Christian Schirvel
Christian Schirvel

Dr Schirvel (DVM MSc CAAM) was previously Head of Business Development and Licensing (BD&L) at Elanco, one of the world’s major animal health companies. Prior to this, he served as Global Head BD&L (therapeutics, anti-infectives, parasiticides, oncology) at Novartis Animal Health until it was acquired by Elanco. He was also Global Head of BD&L at Vétoquinol, a top-ten Animal Health Company, and held several senior positions in Global Marketing and Strategic Development at Merial.
Dr Schirvel is a leading global animal health advisor with an extensive background in product licensing, corporate strategy, marketing and alliance management. He is now president of Vel-Vet AH Consulting and brings a wealth of contacts at the highest levels in global animal health companies, which will be of great assistance in Ecrins Therapeutics’s business and clinical development activities.

François Bellamy
François Bellamy

François Bellamy is a medicinal chemist with over 30 years of experience in Medicinal Chemistry, Drug Discovery, and Preclinical Development within the pharmaceutical industry (Vice President Preclinical Research, Laboratoires Fournier). He also acts as Operations Consultant for dozens of start-ups (including AB Science, Carex, Inflectis, Librophyt, Neuroservices, Neuraxxon…). His research activities have covered various fields including cardiovascular diseases, immunology, neuroprotection, anti-viral drugs, oncology… He is responsible for filing over 60 international patents, 20 of which he was the inventor.
Under his supervision, 17 NCEs (New Chemical Entities) have gone into preclinical development with a 100% success rate allowing them to move forward into clinical development. 12 have progressed to Phase II studies so a 70% sucess rate, while 2 have been studied in Phase III – Imupedone, and Olesoxime. One of the products, Masitinib, was approved by the EMA in 2008 and the FDA in 2010 as veterinary medication (an anticancer drug for dogs) and is currently awaiting approval from the EMA as an anti-cancer medicine for humans. Registration for two other molecules is expected soon.

Jean-Jacques Zeiller
Jean-Jacques Zeiller

After graduating with a degree in chemistry, Jean-Jacques Zeiller started a long career (32 years) in R&D in the pharmaceutical industry, as a medicinal chemist. He then took over the responsibility of several preclinical projects as Preclinical Development Team Leader in different therapeutic areas including lipid lowering and anti-diabetic agents. He was nominated as Global Product Team Leader (GPTL) shortly thereafter, first in Diabetes and then in Oncology, where he was responsible for international clinical development projects. As GPTL, he took care of transitions from preclinical to Phase 1, launch and follow-up of Phase 1, as well as the preparation and set-up of Phase 2 clinical trials.
Jean-Jacques first started his career in Lipha (Lyon), later transitioning to different companies that now constitute what is currently the Merck Group based in Darmstadt (Germany). Since the end of 2010, Jean-Jacques Zeiller has been playing a role as an expert in industrial and clinical transfer at the Canceropôle Lyon Auvergne Rhône Alpes (CLARA). In parallel, he is involved in several training actions at the Lyon University (industrial mentor for Beelys) and in different engineering schools as CPE. See Linkedin profile.

Jean-Marc Paris
Jean-Marc Paris

Prof. Jean-Marc Paris led the R&D division in charge of antibacterial drug discovery at Rhône Poulenc Rorer (currently Sanofi) before joining Rhodia, where he worked as Scientific Director for organic chemistry and biotechnologies. He then became Professor of medicinal chemistry and biochemistry at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris.

Jean-Claude Florent
Jean-Claude Florent

Dr Jean-Claude Florent is Emeritus Director at the Institut Curie in the Research Unit INSERM U1143-CNRS UMR3666 “Chemical Biology of Membranes and Therapeutic Delivery”.
At the Institut Curie, Jean-Claude formerly led the research unit UMR176 “Conception, synthesis and targeting of biomolecules”. His scientific interests lie in the “chemical biology” approaches used for studying living organisms. In particular, Dr. Florent’s team designed and synthesized anticancer compounds that target tumor vessels, serine-threonine kinase inhibitors, as well as protein-protein interaction inhibitors, telomerase and TOPO II inhibitors.
Dr. Florent obtained his doctoral degree in chemistry at the Paris Sud University in1979, as has co-authored 127 peer-reviewed publications and 40 patents.

Claudine Vermot-Desroches
Claudine Vermot-Desroches

With a postgraduate degree in Immunology & Molecular biology (PhD and Post PhD), Claudine VERMOT-DESROCHES has more than 25 years’ experience in research and development of innovation projects in biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies to improve Human Health. Its professional background is characterized with an expertise in Innovation – Development – Management – Partnerships, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit. Claudine has co-founded iDD biotech, with a position of CSO and General Manager. This work with her team led to the development of four drug candidates with robust IP and the conclusion of licensing agreements with international pharmaceutical companies.Claudine Vermot-Desroches is now founder and president of TheraWings Consulting, a translational research consulting company for the discovery and development of innovative medicines.

Strategic advisory board

Damien Salauze
Damien Salauze

Dr. Salauze has extensive experience as a pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry executive and venture capital investor in life science companies. He currently serves as Head of FINDMED, a technology transfer program financed by the French government. Players of the local drug industry, FINDMED aims to create close links between a dozen of major national research centers (most notably Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle, Institut Pasteur, Institut Curie, …).
Dr. Salauze previously held positions at Aventis as Head of a Toxicology Department, then Senior International Marketing Director (Oncology). He has also been a partner at Auriga Ventures, as well as the CEO of Novagali Pharma and Sepal Pharma. Until 2016, Damien served as Tech Transfer Officer at Institut Curie in Paris. He also holds a seat with the Board of Directors of several companies. He has been elected at the French National Academy of Pharmacy, and has been awarded “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite” by the French Ministry of Research. He obtained his PhD from Institut Pasteur in Paris, and his MBA from Insead.

Paul BRUMA
Paul BRUMA

Paul Bruma is graduated from Engineer ParisTech Telecom (1976) and MBA-INSEAD (1983). He is currently vice-President of « Les Business Angels des Grandes Ecoles » (BAdGE) and responsible of the Sourcing (BAdGE was the most important French business-angels association in 2018).
He worked more than 20 years with Alcatel-Lucent (until 2019) and hold different positions in particular : Director, bids and proposals of mobile networks infrastructures, Europ and Americas; Deputy-Director, product line « GSM Software Release »; Project manager for GSM network implementation. Before, he was analyst with the French bank Société Générale, in charge of high tech companies diagnostics and recommendations for investments in this sector.

Jean-Marc Herbert
Jean-Marc Herbert

Graduate in engineering and PhD in biochemistry from the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France, Jean-Marc HERBERT did his PhD in cellular biology and biochemistry at the Clinical Research Center, London, UK. Jean-Marc HERBERT has more than 30 years of industrial experience in pharmaceutical research and development. For 10 years, he worked as International Director of the Cardiovascular/thrombosis Research Department for Sanofi Recherche. During this early phase of his career, he played significant roles in the discovery and development of Plavix(R) and Arixtra(R). In 2007-09, he was Senior VP, in charge of Discovery at Sanofi-Aventis Research. In 2009-15, he was leading a multinational group at Sanofi, based in Europe, US and China called “Early to Candidate” at the interface between academia and Pharma R&D. Jean-Marc Herbert is a member of several scientific international societies and of the editorial and review boards of several peer-reviewed top scientific journals. He has authored more than 400 papers and is listed as an inventor in more than 50 patents in various fields, including thrombosis, vascular biology, inflammation, cardiology and cancer.
Jean-Marc HERBERT is now President of ARKELY-Consulting, a consulting company in translational research for the discovery and development of innovative medicines.
He is a member of the “strategic advisory boards” of several biotechnology companies in various fields and, since 2016, venture partner at GO Capital, a major player in the financing and support of start-ups, small businesses and SMEs in the West of France. GO CAPITAL is an investment company managing more than 180 million euros and investing through several funds in companies from creation to international deployment to accelerate their development.

Lionel Arnaud
Lionel Arnaud

Lionel Arnaud obtained his Master’s degree in “Technologies and Innovations Management” at Paris Dauphine before recieving a post-graduate degree in Cellular Biology and Physiology from The City College of New York. After a spell as a consultant specialized in innovation public funding at Eurinnov, he left for F.Iniciativas to co-create the «Innovation Grants » business unit where he managed for 6 years a team of 10 consultants that raised a total of 50M€+ soft money from public bodies. He joined Par’Immune as Chief Operating Officier in early 2018 in order to oversee its daily operations and set up its financial management structure. As an Expert Evaluator for the European Commission, he is an expert in business planning for innovative start-ups.

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