Research company Bioprojet came into being in 1982 under the guidance of Jeanne-Marie Lecomte and Jean-Charles Schwartz, Doctors of Pharmacy and Sciences. They stem from different realms: Jeanne-Marie Lecomte made a career in the pharmaceutical industry while Jean-Charles Schwartz pursued a university career. They decided to bring together academic research and industrial pharmaceutical development, a very rare practice at the time.
With Bioprojet, they pursued a single objective: relying on original fundamental research to design and develop drugs to be the first in new therapeutic classes. To realise this ambition, Bioprojet teamed up with Inserm, where Jean-Charles Schwartz directed one Unit, and several university Therapeutic Chemistry laboratories.
Today, Bioprojet is organised across two entities comprising 87 staff responsible for the development and marketing of medicinal products:
Created in 1992, it comprises 42 staff responsible for the development and marketing of medicinal products.
Created in 2001, it comprises more than 45 staff and runs the Group’s R&D. It is made up of four units: biochemistry/molecular biology, therapeutic chemistry, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics.
The first joint research project of Bioprojet and Inserm concerned neurotransmitters, endogenous opioids, the discovery of a new enzyme responsible for their inactivation and, in 1993, culminated in the launch of Tiorfan®/Hidrasec®, the first drug to counter intestinal secretion intended for the treatment of diarrhoea.
Featuring an action mechanism that acts at the heart of the gastrointestinal water and electrolyte regulation system, the drug was met with global success, which was confirmed in 2000 with the launch of the paediatric version.
Distributed in 70 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, racecadotril (generic name), is used by over 10 million patients each year.
To date, over 100 million patients have used the drug. Launched in 2021, Tiorfan is now available as a drinkable suspension for use in the paediatric population, babies and infants.
A fundamental discovery, that of a new histamine receptor, is at the basis of the design of pitolisant.
Marketed under the name Wakix®, this drug is indicated in adults for the treatment of narcolepsy with or without cataplexy.
Wakix has been registered in 27 countries of the European Union since 2016 as well as in the United States.
In 2021, pitolisant gained a new European MA in the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness for patients with obstructive sleep apnoea.
In 2001, Bioprojet acquired the GSK research centre at Saint-Grégoire near Rennes, where it gathered its researchers and local researchers, reorganising the site.
The goal: to design innovative drugs and carry out their preclinical assessment. Each year, a thousand molecules are designed and evaluated there.
The Group also pursues its development by acquiring the marketing licenses for drugs falling into its areas of expertise:
In 2013, Bioprojet acquired the British company Lincoln, holder of the global rights for Anapen®.
Lastly, since the early 2000s, the Group has organised its international expansion by creating affiliates primarily in the major European countries.
Bioprojet currently holds operational sites in nine countries: France, Benelux, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Tunisia.
The Group intends to reinforce its targeted research strategy model and increase its international presence, either directly or through partnerships.
In the United States, Bioprojet is the partner of the company Harmony Biosciences which markets Wakix and develops several research programmes.