Pepkon - From academic research to drug development

PepKon is a french biotechnology company founded in 2022. The company develops first-in-class peptides for the treatment of incurable or poor prognosis cancers. These drug-candidates come from over a decade of academic research, resulting in seven scientific publications and two patent families

Innovative mode of action

Selectively kills cancer cells
Calcium-dependent, caspase-independent, and immunogenic cell death

Excellent Safety

No hematological or organ toxicity was detected in our models

Proven Efficacy

Demonstrated efficacy in several types of leukemias and solid cancers
Dose-dependent effect and increased efficacy in combination


Easy and inexpensive to manufacture
Properties that make them excellent candidates for drug development


Breakthrough science

CD47 a ubiquitous transmembrane protein, is known to act as a “do not eat me” signal. Its expression on the cell surface is overexpressed in various cancer cells, enabling the tumor cells to escape from macrophage-mediated phagocytosis.

Thrombospondin-1, an endogenous CD47 ligand, has been shown to trigger cancer cell death by binding to CD47.

PepKon is developing small peptides mimicking the C-terminal domain of Thrombospondin-1. Composed of ten amino acids, they were designed to bind to CD47 with high affinity. It has been demonstrated that they trigger a calcium-dependent, caspase-independent, and immunogenic cell death. This mechanism of action is completely original and different from anti-CD47 monoclonal antibodies currently developed by several big pharma companies.


PepKon collaborates with academic and industrial partners such as Sorbonne Université, Institut Gustave Roussy and Guerbet. These collaborations have revealed the great potential of two drug candidates (PKT16 and PKHB1) to treat several leukemias and solid cancers, including pediatric and orphantypes.  

The company’s current objective is to rapidly reach clinical trials withits lead product PKT16. Based on solid preclinical data, the company is targeting Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) as its first indication.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, an incurable disease

CLL is an incurable disease of which current treatments cause serious side effects and resistances.

This chronic lymphoproliferative disorder is characterized by the proliferation and accumulation of dysfunctional B-cell lymphocytes. It is the most prevalent subtype of leukemia in Western countries (about 50 per 100,000), making up to 25 to 30% of all new leukemia cases, with over 100,000 incidence cases and 40,000 death cases globally in 2019.

In vitro, PKT16 triggers cell death of human patient’s leukemic B cells with no detected resistance, sparing non tumor cells. Patients’ cells showing low response to standard of care treatments  remained significantly sensitive to PKT16, which is important to underline from a therapeutic perspective. In addition, the increased efficacy obtained in combination suggest that PKT16 could be used in combination with the most used anti-CLL drugs on market.

In vivo, PKT16 reduces the tumor burden of CLL xenograft mice models, with no detected hematological or organ toxicity.


Meet the team

Our team brings together a perfect balance of experience, expertise, and youthful energy in our mission to revolutionize cancer treatment. In addition, we benefit from the support of several KOLs and high-level advisors.

Meet All Departments
Philippe Karoyan
Scientific Co-Founder

Jean Pascal Tranié
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan Levy
Chief Operationnal Officer

Florence Allouche
Chairman of the board

Luis Gómez-Morales
Research Engineer

Olivia Soufflet
PhD Student

Veronique Leblond
Medical advisor

Patric Weil
Co-founder & Chairman

Naomi Bellaiche
Preclinical and clinical operations

Pauline Lafargue

Laboratory - PepKon has its own laboratory at Oncodesign François Hyafil research center (Villebon-sur-Yvette, Paris region). This asset enables the company to synthesize its own peptides and conduct laboratory studies.

Incubation and offices - PepKon is supported by three selective incubators : Agoranov, Neighborhood (Voisin Consulting Life Sciences) and Prunay Impact.

FILO - PepKon is supported for its preclinical and clinical development by FILO, the national Cooperative Group of research in the field of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

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