On June 15, the CNRS Medal of Innovation will be awarded to Raphaèle Herbin, Jean-Pierre Nozières, Jean-Marie Tarascon and Jamal Tazi. The medal is given in recognition of outstanding research in fields related to technology, medicine or the social sciences.
Prof. Jamal Tazi, inventor of ABX464, ABIVAX’s lead drug candidate for inducing a functional cure for HIV, and Member of its Executive Committee, on receiving the CNRS Medal of Innovation 2017. The medal, which will be awarded today at a ceremony attended by Mrs. Frédérique Vidal, French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, is in recognition of outstanding research in fields related to technology, medicine or the social sciences.
Jamal Tazi is a Professor of Functional Genomics at the University of Montpellier, Senior Member at the University Institute of France and Deputy Director of the Health Center Biology “Rabelais” responsible for education and training. After a thesis on molecular and cellular biology defended in 1988, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (Vienna, Austria), before joining the CNRS in 1990.
For 20 years, he led the team “messenger RNA metabolism in metazoans” within the Institute for Molecular Genetics in Montpellier (IGMM) where he made important contributions in the understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of the expression of our genes and editing of their products. These discoveries are used today in the medical field through the development of a new therapy based on the use of small molecules to fight against viral infections and to correct anomalies of gene expression responsible for many cancers.
In 2008, Truffle Capital’s Managing Director, Dr. Philippe Pouletty, founded Splicos in collaboration with Prof. Jamal Tazi and the CNRS with an exclusive global licensing agreement on Prof. Tazi’s patent application on small molecules modulating RNA biogenesis. Under the impetus of Truffle Capital, ABIVAX was founded in December 2013 by merging three French biotech companies (Wittycell, Splicos and Zophis). The company’s research activities are located in its cooperative lab with the CNRS in Montpellier. In June 2015, ABIVAX completed the largest biotech IPO in France in terms of the amount raised on Euronext Paris.
“I am honored to receive the CNRS Medal of Innovation 2017, which rewards not only my work but also the dedication and commitment of my teams which have been fighting to find a cure to HIV for many years. The announcement by ABIVAX in May 2017 of the first ever evidence of treatment-induced reduction in HIV reservoir, using ABX464, provides great hope for the HIV-community. We have come a long way, but we still have more work to do. Our goal is to find a cure for the millions of people infected with the virus,” said Prof. Jamal Tazi.
“We are very proud to count on Prof. Jamal Tazi as a colleague and a friend. His commitment to finding a cure for HIV is a key driver in our work. In the name of all ABIVAX team members, I would like to congratulate him on receiving this prestigious recognition from the CNRS, and we are looking forward to his continued contributions to our mission to bringing novel treatments to patients with HIV and other life-threatening viral diseases,” said Prof. Hartmut Ehrlich, M.D., CEO of ABIVAX.
The National Center for Scientific Research or CNRS is a public organization under the responsibility of the French Ministry of Education and Research. The CNRS Medal of Innovation, created in 2011, rewards outstanding scientific research with innovative applications in the technological, therapeutic and societal fields, thus promoting French scientific research. Every year, a jury hands out up to five medals to researchers and engineers, either from CNRS or within other research organizations, universities and higher-education institutions, or to industrial partners involved in research initiatives.
For more information, refer to http://www.cnrs.fr/en/research/awards/innovation.htm.