The fabulous story of Crossject, the start-up that signed a US$155 million contract with the United States

Crossject signed a $155 million contract with the US government a few days ago. Based in Dijon, the company has committed to delivering 800,000 doses of its allergy and epileptic seizure medication.

Tucked away in a business park east of Dijon, it would go almost unnoticed. And yet, Crossject has recently joined the select and prestigious club of SMEs that do business with the US government. “In Burgundy-Franche-Comté, there are not many“, smiles Patrick Alexandre, founder of the company and Chairman of the Board.

The deal was ratified on Friday night, June 16, with the signing of a $155 million contract between Crossject and BARDA. (in French, theAuthority for Advanced Research and Development in Biomedicine). This agency placed an order for 800,000 units of a drug created by the Burgundian start-up. A first delivery, at a cost of 60 million dollars, has already been registered.

The concept of Zeneo, is its name, should be familiar to allergy sufferers. It is neither more nor less than an injector to be used in case of an allergy crisis. But unlike classic adrenaline pens, Zeneo has a special feature: it has no needle. “The jet comes out at high pressure through small holes that are a few tenths of a millimeter“, explains Patrick Alexandre.”The drug comes out fast enough to puncture the tissue.

Pyrotechnic technology is used to store a lot of energy in a small volume. It’s a bit the same concept as a Karcher, without making a cubic meter.

Zeneo’s goal is to allow “non-caregivers” to have access to an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use tool. To use it, just open the box and press the injection button, which takes less than a second. “Crossject has two businesses: medical device developer, the injector, and drug developer, that is, the molecule that is combined with it.“, specifies the founder of Crossject.

The US order is not for allergies. The government has an obligation to maintain “medical countermeasures“to mitigate injuries caused by accidents or chemical or biological attacks in particular. Fortunately, the drug used against neurotoxic products, Midazolam, is the same drug for severe epileptic seizures… which Crossject was already working on before the contest.”When they kicked off saying they needed an injector, if possible without a needle, to inject Midazolam, then therefore responded present. And we must have been the best since we were selected“, rejoices Patrick Alexandre.

Currently, Zeneo remains a product in development. Before being marketed, it must receive the approval of the competent authorities. However, files must not be submitted before the end of the next year, for commercialization at least one year later.

In the pharmaceutical industry, these are quite short processes“, shades Patrick Alexandre.”When we are in new molecules, it is necessary to count 10, 15, 20 years. Therefore, we decided to only use molecules that were already recognized and commonly used, which allowed us to do only small clinical studies for a few weeks on 50-60 volunteers. Nothing to do with biotechnology studies.

However, the drug may see the light of day more quickly in the United States. In addition to the speed of processing the files, there is also the issue of the sale price, which is much higher on Uncle Sam.

A laboratory prefers to launch its product at a high price, perhaps to have more courage to negotiate then.

In the field of medicine, once the sale is authorized, distribution passes through pharmaceutical laboratories. They include the product in their catalog and buy a license from the designer to be able to sell it.

At the end of 2021, the European Union launched HERA, which aims to be the European counterpart of BARDA. At Crossject, we hear “talk to these people” in the future. And among potential future clients, the name of the US Department of Defense also circulates.whose representatives visited the Dijon website in 2020.

They are the ones who put us in contact with BARDA“, says Patrick Alexandre. “They also have more specific needs, but apparently they would consider ordering two million doses of a product similar to the one we are developing. We’ll start working on it, and if that happens, we’ll do everything we can to respond to it.

So soon a Burgundian company at the heart of American national security? The issue remains unresolved. But for Crossject, one thing is certain: the contract with BARDA,That is news of the century“.

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