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Hekat and the exosomes, the next medical revolution


Since it was founded in 2007, ALPhANOV has acted as a booster of technological innovation, and its support towards entrepreneurs in their will to build a startup is a perfect example.

The center has supported over twenty startups, backed by a comprehensive innovation support system (SATT AST, incubators and technologies hubs), and we met the founder of the latest nugget to be supported by ALPhANOV, Sophie Bourzeix, Hekat Fluidics.

Sophie Bourzeix


From collaborative project to independent company

Hekat grew out of a collaborative project led by ALPhANOV, funded by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and launched in 2021, ExoFlow. "Without this essential support, comments Sophie, this project would not have come to fruition, or would have taken much longer."

Once the project had matured, and the results were conclusive, Hekat Fluidics was born in January 2023, almost a year before leaving the ALPhANOV premises. Sophie recalls, however, that the transition was anticipated, and that it went very smoothly. "The project was well "delimited" within ALPhANOV, with all that this implies: dedicated funding, expenses monitoring, human resources, etc. This anticipation enabled us to raise funds, look for a place to set up and start strengthening our team - in short, to prepare for our departure. Still, we maintain very close links with the ALPhANOV teams, who continue to support us in many ways."

Manip Hekat

Hekat's ambition is to become the first company in the world to offer a microfluidic and optical instrument capable of individually detecting, counting and sorting biological nano-objects at high speed according to information-carrying criteria. The proven and potential applications of this technology are numerous: quality control, cancer diagnostics, the environment, synthetic nanoparticles... and many others just as promising. It is therefore essential for Hekat to have a clear vision of their mission in order to avoid any dilution or scattering.

"The desire to embark on an entrepreneurial project emerged during the first Covid quarantine in 2020. It was a well-considered choice, and despite the heavy workload, I enjoy it. Being an entrepreneur gives me the kind of responsiveness and freedom of choice that suits my character. Also, I love sharing my enthusiasm and vision, whether with investors, the team, etc."

A celebration of innovation

ALPhANOV welcomed the project from its birth in 2021, offering technical support and premises. "It was within this framework, as a project team within ALPhANOV, that I was able to hire engineers and develop a first prototype. These two years of maturation enabled us to devote 100% of our time to the technical side of things, but also to the i-Lab competition, without having to worry about the administrative management of premises, accounting or employment contracts."

At the 2023 edition of  BPI France's i-Lab competition, dedicated to identifying and supporting innovative technology start-up projects, Hekat was awarded the Grand Prix with special mention of the jury.

Salle blanche

"This distinction was an excellent surprise for us. We were competing for the first time, so of course we thought we had a chance, but to have a Grand Prix and on top of that a special mention from the national jury gave us great confidence. Our project fits in perfectly with the national strategy "Biotherapies/Bioproduction in Innovative Therapies", which certainly helped. But what I think has also been rewarded is the quality of our multi-disciplinary team, our complementarity and, I imagine, the scale of the technical advances made in less than two years."

Today, thanks to the grand from the BPI (i-Lab) and an initial fund-raising round, the Hekat team has grown. "We're a startup of seven engineers (optician, microfluidicist, mechatronicist, chemist, etc...) plus a CIFRE PhD biologist. We're delighted with our premises at Parc Amperis in Pessac: offices, a large optics lab and an L2 microbiological safety room. We now need to move from the laboratory prototype developed at ALPhANOV, to a pre-industrial demonstrator. At the same time, we're developping collaborations with laboratories and industry to demonstrate use cases for our instrument.

Equipe Hekat

Hekat Fluidics team

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