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PrediTox, the start-up that evaluates the carcinogenic potential of your compounds

An ability to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of compounds at a very early stage is an important challenge for all pharmaceutical, cosmetics, chemicals or even agrifood companies that are trying to create new products. PrediTox is a start-up which has made this work its speciality, thanks to the development of a technology from TOXALIM.

PrediTox. © PrediTox, PrediTox
Updated on 12/11/2018
Published on 10/29/2018

From lab work to creating a company

It all started with Dr Marc Audebert, a toxicology scientist at INRA who was working on "γH2AX", a biomarker for carcinogenesis relatively new at the time. We are in 2006, and very rapidly he realised the value of associating this biomarker with the use of different human cell lines to enable early detection of the potential of compounds to damage DNA. The foundations for PrediTox were thus laid. Major methodological developments and more detailed validation tests were still necessary to establish proof of concept; at that point Laure Khoury became involved, and for the next four years, working in the laboratory, she optimised the technique and tested it on more than 700 different compounds before initiating the creation of PrediTox.

Numerous advantages

Unlike standard tests performed on bacteria or mammalian cells, the technology proposed by PrediTox only uses human cell lines from different organs that are the targets of contaminants, thus avoiding any more or less risky extrapolation to humans.
These cell lines are extremely diverse so that the test can be adapted to targeted applications. Thus a cosmetic application will preferably be tested on "skin" cell lines, unlike an oral medication or food contaminant which might more wisely be evaluated on liver or colon cells, etc.
The test is rapid – a week is necessary to obtain full results – and provides information on the compound that not only concerns genotoxicity (yes/no) but also the dose above which it becomes genotoxic and the mechanisms of action underlying the toxicity (direct or indirect action on DNA, etc.).

Towards regulatory validation

An application for evaluation was filed more than a year ago with the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL-ECVAM) in order to obtain regulatory approval of the method. The test was validated on the list of 62 compounds – genotoxic or not – recommended by the EURL-ECVAM. The method thus developed was able to detect 95% of the carcinogenic compounds tested (as opposed to just 71% for a standard test) while not revealing any false-positive compounds. Discussions are also under way with the OECD regarding use of this method at a global level. 

International customers

Set up at the end of 2017, PrediTox SAS can offer services and R&D in the field of genotoxicology based on the γH2AX test for which it holds an INRA know-how licence. It is developing its activities in France and internationally in numerous areas such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, the agrifood industry or the environment, and carries out specific contracts on a wide variety of liquid or solid samples:

  • Environmental samples (river water, sediments, etc.),
  • Pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food or agrochemical samples (purified compounds, complex mixtures, chemical products, medicinal products, oils, etc.),
  • Raw materials,
  • Etc.

PrediTox intervenes far upstream in product development so that the safety of a new compound can be evaluated at an early stage without the need for experiments on animals.

PrediTox contact:
Laure Khoury – Tel. : +33(6) 64 46 59 14
180 chemin de Tournefeuille,
31027 Toulouse, France

Scientific contact(s):

  • Marc Audebert INPT-INRA-Université Toulouse 3 Joint Research Unit for Food Toxicology – UMR TOXALIM - INPT, INRA, Univ. Toulouse 3, 180 chemin de Tournefeuille, BP.93173, 31027 TOULOUSE Cedex 3
Associated Division(s):
Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour, Animal Health
Associated Centre(s):
. © INRA


A Joint Research Unit at the INRA Centre in Toulouse

Skills within TOXALIM cover a broad range of scientific areas ranging from digestive pathophysiology to the disturbances of gene expression involved in the development of metabolic diseases and cancers. The unit draws strength from the know-how of its team, which has an international reputation in pharmacology, analytical chemistry, metabolomics and transcriptomics, etc.
TOXALIM thus contributes to developing knowledge of the long-term effects on human and animal health of toxins such as agricultural inputs, pesticides, mycotoxins, substances migrating from packaging systems and other food contaminants. Projects focus in particular on chronic exposure to low-dose contaminants, possibly in the form of mixtures and at critical stages in the development of organisms (neonatal or perinatal).

More information at: https://www6.toulouse.inra.fr/toxalim_eng/