TORSKAL is an international biotechnology company, a pioneer of green nanotechnology. We design disruptive gold nanoparticles for cancer therapy using green chemistry. As a biotechnology company, we are committed to the development of a new generation of non-toxic and eco-friendly nanomaterials for the treatment of surface and deep cancers. We have discovered an innovative, green, and patented way of producing gold nanoparticles, leveraging Indian Ocean endemic plants, that can have many applications in health.

OUR MISSION: To reduce the damage caused by conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy; and destroy the tumor in a single dose using heat without affecting healthy tissue.

OUR VISION: To revolutionize cancer therapy using a green chemistry approach that is not only more efficient than current conventional cancer therapies, but also adds value by creating a sustainable environment.

Founded in 2015, TORSKAL is a rapidly growing start-up which is backed by a network of international experts and multidisciplinary top-leading academic research labs (Oncopole, CEA, Pasteur Institute, etc.) Our focus is on oncology with several nanotheranostics (monitoring and treatment) candidates in development, and our first one, Nanotheranostics Project – NT1 is entering phase 1 clinical trials in melanoma.

Key Data

Patents in Europe & South Africa
Cosmetic Brands Owned in EU & Asia
Clinical Trials planned in 2022
+ Research Partners around the World
Million Euros Raised
Located in the USA, France & China

Advantage of using gold nanoparticles over chemotherapy in treating cancer:

  • The conventional anti-cancer drugs currently on the market are drugs that act by toxicity; they destroy tumor cells, but also healthy cells. We often forget that the patient’s body is a battlefield

  • Some patients who are already very weakened by the disease cannot endure chemotherapy which has many side effects. Our challenge is to reduce side effects and destroy tumor cells in a single dose, by heat, without affecting healthy tissue, by using our gold nanoparticles

Genesis of the project

Cancer in a few figures: Cancer remains a major public health problem. It is the second leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide, affecting more than half of the population. The disease is estimated to be responsible for nearly 10 million deaths worldwide in 2020, as per WHO. Nearly one in six deaths worldwide is due to cancer.

Global cancer deaths estimation in 2020

Credit: Globocan 2020

The ideal health product is one that has no side effects, is effective against the tumor and accumulates in the tumor. Conversely, if it is distributed everywhere, it should be non-toxic and remotely activated. By adding specific ligands to their surface, nanoparticles will be able to move to targeted locations in our body. The purpose of using these nanoparticles is to improve therapy, while avoiding the exposure of our body to a risk of toxicity. Some nanoparticles are now being developed for use as theranostics, a method using imaging to map cancer sites for targeted treatment.

“I used the knowledge acquired in chemistry and biochemistry to design this tool: a hybrid nanotheranostic-type object made from natural elements, capable of destroying tumor cells by heat without affecting healthy cells”.

– Anne-Laure Morel, Founder & President

The problem: Conventional chemotherapy remains toxic, poorly targeted and leads to numerous undesirable effects. Immuno-oncology and personalized medicine are controversial in the EU due to their prohibitive costs and the effectiveness of immunotherapy is discussed by physicians. In response to these problems, TORSKAL creates non-toxic and ecologically designed anti-cancer drugs from medicinal plants, water and gold salts .

lyophilised plant extract, plant powder and dried plant leaves

Lyophilised plant extract, plant powder and dried plant leaves

The mechanism of action of plasmonic phototherapy:

  • Nanoparticles are injected intravenously or intratumorally depending on the cancer. If the tumor is on the surface and is accessible by surgery, the product will be injected intratumorally; however, if the tumor site remains inaccessible, the intravenous route will be required. Targeting is active and passive. It takes advantage of RPE, which is a biological phenomenon that makes blood vessels porous. The second targeting is active through the use of peptides. Nanoparticles are internalized in the cell
  • These cells that have accumulated the nanoparticles are irradiated in the near infrared
  • Hyperthermia, i.e. temperature increase at the local level
  • Leading to the thermal destruction of the cell by apoptosis