Carnot Exploratory Team

Our team performs collaborative research with private and academic partners who wish to carry out tests of compounds for therapeutic purposes on cellular and animal pathophysiological models of retinal diseases. Our team also conducts its own research with the aim of identifying new therapeutic targets for AMD.

AMD is a chronic, progressive and debilitating degenerative disease. As the leading cause of vision loss after 50 years in industrialized countries, AMD affects 200 million people worldwide. To date, there is no treatment available for early and intermediate forms which represent the majority of cases. AMD is a multifactorial disease for which some underlying mechanisms are linked to oxidative and light-induced stress factors, and increase with age, impairing cellular function and thus creating a negative vicious cycle of ever-present and -increasing oxidative stress. The dysfunction and/or degeneration of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells will thus lead to the degeneration of photoreceptors and consequently to irreversible vision loss. One of our research projects aims to develop a nutraceutical to slow or even stop the progression of the disease. This work has been conducted for several years of testing compounds in our models. Our team has also identified a drug molecule capable of protecting photoreceptors. This drug is currently in clinical development by a biotech company specializing in drug repositioning.

Our team is multidisciplinary and can carry out chemical or genetic screening on different cell types (RPE, photoreceptors, glial cells, derived from iPS, etc.), as well as perform in vivo proofs of concept in mouse models of retinal degeneration ( Abca4-/-Rdh8-/-, retinal degeneration (rd) mouse, phototoxicity model, etc.). We can also manage studies on the cellular mechanism of action of new drugs.


Valérie Fontaine
Team Leader

Lipofuscin accumulated in retinal pigment epithelium cells.

Research areas

  • Identification of chemical or natural molecules or target genes for the treatment of AMD
  • Development of cellular and animal models
  • Development and implementation of chemical or genetic screening on retinal cell types
  • Study of the mechanisms of action related to the studied processes 
Élodie Monteiro
Thinhinane Boumedine


RAR Inhibitors Display Photo-Protective and Anti-Inflammatory Effects in A2E Stimulated RPE Cells In Vitro through Non-Specific Modulation of PPAR or RXR Transactivation
Fontaine V, Boumedine T, Monteiro E, Fournié M, Gersende G, Sahel JA, Picaud S, et al.
IJMS. 2024
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Rodent Models of Retinal Degeneration: From Purified Cells in Culture to Living Animals
Fradot V, Augustin S, Fontaine V, Marazova K, Guillonneau X, Sahel JA, Picaud S.
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2023
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Anti-Inflammatory Effects and Photo- and Neuro-Protective Properties of BIO203, a New Amide Conjugate of Norbixin, in Development for the Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Fontaine V, Balducci C, Dinan L, Monteiro E, Boumedine T, Fournié M, Nguyen V, et al.
IJMS. 2023
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Systemic administration of the di-apocarotenoid norbixin (BIO201) is neuroprotective, preserves photoreceptor function and inhibits A2E and lipofuscin accumulation in animal models of age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt
Fontaine V, Monteiro E, Fournié M, Brazhnikova E, Boumedine T, Vidal C, Balducci C, et al.
Aging. 2020
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Norbixin Protects Retinal Pigmented Epithelium Cells and Photoreceptors against A2E-Mediated Phototoxicity In Vitro and In Vivo
Fontaine V, Monteiro E, Brazhnikova E, Lesage L, Balducci C, Guibout L, Feraille L, Elena PP, et al.
PLoS. 2016
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Financial partner

Valérie Fontaine
Team Leader