Presentation of the ICOA


ICOA is a research laboratory affiliated to University of Orleans and CNRS (UMR 7311), located on the campus of the University of Orleans in a modern, 4000 m² building. The main objective of the laboratory research activities is to discover novel bioactive molecules having potential applications as drugs or as components of cosmetic formulation.

Drugs          Cosmetic formulation

The scientific approach to these new molecules involves design by molecular modeling techniques, preparation by organic synthesis, with a particular emphasis on heterocyclic compounds, carbohydrate derivatives, chemoenzymatic synthesis and nucleoside analogs, extraction from plant material using high performance separation techniques and mass spectrometry analysis, and by enzymology, in order to identify and characterize the biological targets of these bioactive molecules.

ICOA has numerous collaborations and partnerships in Region Centre, with other research laboratories such as CBM (CNRS UPR4301), forming with this laboratory a Research Federation (FR2708), with CEA (ICOA is an academic correspondent laboratory LRC M09), with companies and through Competitiveness Clusters. By its important scientific productivity, ICOA is a research laboratory having national and international recognition. Since 2012, ICOA is a member of two Laboratory of Excellence (LABEX), SYNORG and IRON.

Research Focus
  • Structural Bioinformatics and Chemoinformatics :

Design of tools for an optimized use of chemical libraries in Drug Design. Application of docking techniques and QSAR to Drug Design projects, in collaboration with organic synthesis research groups, biologists or pharmaceutical companies.

  • Glycomolecules: from synthesis to enzymology :

Carbohydrate chemistry: synthesis of glycosaminoglycans, glycomimetics (iminosugars, thiosugars), glycolipids having immunomodulating activity. Chemo-enzymatic synthesis. Structure and mechanism of glycosyltransferases and of glycosidases, molecular engineering. Synthesis of inhibitors of these enzymes as biochemical probes and as potential therapeutic agents (lysosomal diseases, leishmaniasis, tuberculosis).

  • Heterocyclic synthesis and medicinal chemistry :

Synthetic methodologies in heterocyclic chemistry, metal-mediated coupling processes for the creation of C-C and C-X bonds. Microwave-assisted synthesis. Multi-step synthesis of bioactive molecules of therapeutic interest (diseases of the CNS diseases, obesity, cancer). Probes and photosensitizers for imaging (fluorescence, PET, MRI/optical); valorization of natural products from medicinal or aromatic plants.

  • Modified Nucleosides :

Directed synthesis, vectorization, bioanalysis. Modified nucleosides and nucleobases having antiviral, antibacterial or antitumor activities. Metal-catalyzed synthesis. Molecular imprinted polymers (MIP) designed for extraction, vectorization of bioactive molecules, biomimetic screening. Development of ultra-high sensitivity analytical techniques for the monitoring of antiviral and antitumor therapies..

  • Extraction, analysis of bioactive molecules :
New methods of extraction, fractioning and rapid separation, miniaturization, coupling of mass spectrometry with separation techniques (HPLC, nano-LC, capillary electrophoresis, SFC and GC), for the structural determination of new compounds and their composition in complex mixtures (plant extracts, biological matrices, cell extracts). Novel methods for the rapid screening of enzyme inhibitors. Mechanisms of chiral recognition to assist in the selection of a technique for stereoisomer separation.