The STROK@LLIANCE story began in 2017 as a result of a chance encounter between Pierre Bourgogne (co-founder and former Chairman of ETAP-Lab) and Professor Denis Vivien (Head of PhIND, UMR-S U1237 INSERM/EFS/University of Caen Normandy) in the course of a consultation on the Caen Science Park Plateau Nord.

At the time, ETAP-Lab had five years of experience in the stroke field, and had managed more than 20 studies for private pharmaceutical industry clients. ETAP-Lab was very capable of managing and performing high-quality grade studies (including complex multisite imaging), but senior management was well aware of the need for stronger scientific input and a broader model portfolio to play a significant role in the field of preclinical stroke.

It was clear from the outset that Denis Vivien was willing to offer his laboratory’s expertise and know-how to the pharmaceutical industry, in a bid to accelerate innovative drug development from bench-to-bedside.

Nicolas Violle (CEO, ETAP-Lab) came up with an innovative model for collaboration between ETAP-Lab and the University of Caen Normandy. In this model, ETAP-Lab staff perform preclinical studies at the University Biological Resources Center (CURB), where they have exclusive access to certain experimental facilities. This allows both transfer of knowledge from PhIND’s stroke experts and implementation of quality-controlled processes. It also provides access to imaging facilities from CYCERON – an imagery platform directly connected to the CURB. STROK@LLIANCE was born.

“Using highly skilled specialists, STROK@LLIANCE is now able to manage projects for the pharmaceutical industry, ensuring that both expertise and creativity are brought into play in providing high-level animal studies in a quality-controlled environment. By taking full advantage of the CYCERON facilities, STROK@LLIANCE accesses state-of-the-art technology and offers fine-tuned behavioral studies.”
N. Violle


  • CRO with 25 years’ experience in preclinical pharmacology
  • Dedicated team and project managers headed by Dr. Nicolas Violle
  • Quality, transparency and data traceability
  • Deadline compliance and regular reports
  • Confidentiality


  • Academic laboratory committed to stroke science
  • Headed by the internationally renowned scientist Pr. Denis Vivien
  • Around 30 scientific publications per year
  • Collaboration with neurologists in pursuit of a translational vision
  • Development of innovative stroke models


  • The only CRO 100% dedicated to preclinical stroke research
  • The best of academic and private expertise within a single service


The STROK@LLIANCE Scientific Advisory Board is coordinated by a renowned scientist in the field: Professor Denis Vivien

Each protocol is discussed with Pr. Vivien, Dr. Orset and Dr. Violle, together with the sponsor, to:

  • 1

    Select the most appropriate stroke model

  • 2

    Customize experimental design

  • 3

    Interpret data

Denis Vivien

Denis Vivien Professor of Cell Biology, Hospital Practitioner and Professor senior

Denis Vivien is Professor of Cell Biology, Hospital Practitioner (Caen-Normandie Univ. Medical Center – Department of Clinical Research) and a Senior Professor at the Institut Universitaire de France. He leads the Physiopathology and Imaging of Neurological Disorders (PhIND) laboratory (UMR-S U1237, INSERM/EFS/Caen-Normandie Univ.). He was highly instrumental in gaining understanding of the function of serine proteases in controlling molecular and cellular events occurring during ischemic stroke. In 2005, he discovered the influence of serine proteases on NMDA glutamatergic signaling and neurotoxicity. His research projects now extend to the role of serine proteases in homeostatic control of the neurovascular unit. With the objective of getting closer and closer to human pathology, he is committed to developing preclinical translational models alongside innovative tools for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. He has co-authored more than 150 scientific publications and several patents in the field.

Cyrille Orset

Cyrille Orset Assistant Professor

Cyrille Orset is Assistant Professor at the University of Caen-Normandy, in the PhIND laboratory. He holds a PhD (2005) from the Neuropharmacology and Neurochemistry laboratory headed by Pr. Bernard Renaud (INSERM U512, Lyon, France). His PhD training focused on the effect of mild hypoxia on basal ganglia, followed by a postdoc (2005-2012) in Pr. Vivien’s laboratory, where he worked on ischemic stroke and the effects of the tPA in the neurovascular unit. There, he successfully created and developed a translational model of stroke in the rodent and non-human primate that mimics human physiopathology more closely. Much of Dr. Orset’s ongoing research has focused on using experimental stroke models to examine the role of tPA in neuro-vascular coupling. He has co-authored more than 20 scientific publications and several patents in the field.

Nicolas Violle

Nicolas Violle CEO of ETAP-Lab and founding member of Strok@lliance

Nicolas Violle is CEO at ETAP-Lab and a founding member of STROK@LLIANCE. He holds a PhD in Biology; this training focused on methodologies for behavioral assessment of anxiety and stress in rodents (Biology of Behavior Laboratory, Nancy). His next role was as Study Manager at ETAP-Lab in 2009, where he headed more than 70 preclinical studies in Neuroscience, including implementation of a thrombo-embolic stroke model and validation of an original neuroscore in rats. Since 2004, he has been at the head of ETAP-Lab and has also gained a Master’s in Business Management. He has extensive expertise in preclinical study management for the industry, and protocol design.



STROK@LLIANCE is based in Caen (France).

Our offices are within the Health Innovation and Research Center, bringing service and biotech companies together on a single site

STROK@LLIANCE has dedicated controlled-access facilities inside the University Biological Resource Center (CURB) including:

Conventional and GMO husbandries for rodents (mice and rats)
State-of-the-art surgery rooms
Rooms dedicated to behavioral studies

STROK@LLIANCE can access the CYCERON imagery facilities – a shared technological platform

Strok@lliance doppler speckle stroke mice


Most of these publications issue from PhIND unit research.