We present a new exponential B-spline basis that enables the construction of active contours for the analysis of biomedical images. Our functions generalize the well-known polynomial Hermite B-splines and provide us with a direct control over the tangents of the parameterized contour, which is absent in traditional spline-based active contours. Our basis functions have been designed to perfectly reproduce elliptical and circular shapes. Moreover, they can approximate any closed curve up to arbitrary precision by increasing the number of anchor points. They are therefore well-suited to the segmentation of the roundish objects that are commonly encountered in the analysis of bioimages. We illustrate the performance of an active contour built using our functions on some examples of real biological data.