Harmonic Pharma: molecules in a single click

Changed on 22/04/2021
Originally used in medicine, Harmonic Pharma’s digital solutions are also of interest to actors in the fields of chemistry, agri-food, cosmetics and defence. Located in Nancy on the Artem campus, the start-up’s development is based on its flagship tool: a platform for characterising and predicting the safety of chemical compounds from different sources.
Molécule extraite du logo d'Harmonic Pharma
© Harmonic Pharma

Technology that meets a need

My name comes from the mathematical functions that govern numerical models: spherical harmonics. A spin-off of Loria, founded in 2009 at the Inria Nancy - Grand Est centre, I help describe and compare molecules using patented software technology. The innovative service to which I owe my success is a platform for characterisation and biological property prediction, making it an invaluable decision support tool. “The safety of a molecule is a complex subject and must be supported by tangible elements in order to guide the decisions of R&D teams and managers,” says Arnaud Sinan Karaboga, my scientific director. Our technological platform helps predict the polypharmacological profile of molecules and better understand their mechanisms of action; this helps guide experimental validations and allows the substitution of molecules in existing products”. Led by a team of three co-directors and three engineers, my platform is based on a database containing over 600,000 molecules defined by their shape and physicochemical properties. It meets the needs of numerous public and private users: “our clients prefer to remain discreet for obvious competition-related reasons,” explains Arnaud Sinan Karaboga.

My three company directors

  • Michel Souchet, CEO

Co-founder, 25 years of experience in R&D for international pharmaceutical players and biotechnology companies

  • Stéphane Gégout, COO

Co-founder, 20 years of experience in technology innovation programs, health and industry

  • Arnaud Sinan Karaboga, CBDO

Head of commercial and scientific management, technological innovation projects, 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and technology transfer

Reviewing what already exists

Internationally recognised for my publications and patents, I work with academics, competitiveness clusters and major research institutions. “We traditionally have two flagship projects: repositioning active ingredients in oncology with Institut Curie and Gustave Roussy and using a wood co-product in the fields of food supplements and cosmetics,” explains Arnaud Sinan Karaboga. The health crisis also unexpectedly brought my expertise to the fore. To respond to the emergency and contribute to the development of new molecules against the virus, I made my platform, software and results available to virology researchers and clinicians in collaboration with the company Prestwick. Our shared goal was to see whether known molecules could provide therapeutic solutions in the fight against Covid-19. “We identified ten or so potential molecules and have invited clinical research actors to explore and validate their potential in the laboratory,” says my scientific director.

My new credo: anticipating toxicological risks

In 2019, I extended my offer to industrial actors in the fields of chemistry, agri-food, cosmetics and defence. In combination with artificial intelligence technology, my platform helps them with scientific objectification criteria to better understand the mechanisms of action of compounds and respond to the constant pressure of regulatory constraints while finding the right balance between effectiveness and safety for people and the environment. The service was developed within the framework of the civil and military innovation programme Chemical Range, carried out in partnership with Loria, AID (Defence Innovation Agency) and the DGA (Directorate General for Armament).

A role to play in my national ecosystem

Ever young and dynamic”, as my managers say, I aim to propose my scientific objectification criteria and toxicity prediction services through working with other French companies such as the Seqens’Lab ecosystem. Endocrine disruptors, genotoxic impurities, residues in water... these are all public health and environmental issues for which I can offer valuable decision support. “Our field of application is vast,” says Arnaud Sinan Karaboga. “We are progressing on an incremental scale, building on reliable relationships and using our essential skills. Our new Safety by Design® approach is both a paradigm shift and an opportunity for the company”, says the man who harbours a vision: to create a sovereign national ecosystem to improve product resilience to economic competition and regulations. “Between private and academic players, including Inria, we have a strong innovation chain across the national territory”.

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