The ORion21™ Platform

The ORion21™ technology is the product of more than 30 years of fundamental research on the molecular biology of the sense of smell and is named after the constellation Orion (The Hunter), an acknowledgement to Hunter College (CUNY) where the technology was invented, The science behind the technology has been extensively validated by Yesse’s co-founders, Drs. Paul Feinstein and Charlotte D’Hulst and has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell Reports in 2016.

In this day and age, virtually all information is, or can be, digitized to be universally accessible and insightful. A notable exception to this is the sense of smell or olfaction. This enigmatic sense comprises the most sensitive and specific chemical detectors on the planet and the discriminatory power of the olfactory system rivals that of any other sensory system. Yet, olfaction remains largely unexploited.

Volatile molecules in our environment bind specific sensors in the nose, called odorant receptors (ORs). Even though the full OR repertoire was identified in 1991, less than 10% of all human ORs have a known ligand. The fundamental reason why large-scale odor-profiling of ORs has been lagging, is that ORs are notoriously hard to express outside their native environment, the olfactory sensory neuron. Hence, human olfaction has remained a black box and the power of The Nose has thus far been untapped.

ORion21 Platform

Through the Orion21™ genetic platform, any mammalian odorant receptor can be engineered and produced in large amounts in its natural environment. The receptors produced through the Orion21™ platform are fully functional and specific odor activation can be measured ex vivo using existing biochemical assays. Together with our chip development partner imec, we are now merging the Orion21™ biology with state-of-the-art nanotechnology to build the first-ever true nose-on-a chip.

“We employ what Biology engineered for us throughout evolution.”

─Paul Feinstein, CSO