2017 CNRS Innovation Medal laureate: Jamal Tazi
As a 2017 CNRS Innovation medallist, Jamal Tazi, a specialist in functional genomics, and research team leader in the molecular genetics institute (a joint unit of the CNRS and University of Montpellier) recalls his career. This professor was the initiator of major discoveries in precursor mRNA alternative splicing – a method used to obtain several different proteins from the same gene. This research opened up new paths for the treatment of viral and genetic diseases. In 2008, Tazi founded a biotechnological firm Splicos, renamed into Abivax in 2013, to develop antiviral drug candidates. He has been directing the CNRS-Abivax cooperative laboratory, called Abivax Therapeutics (formerly Splicos Therapeutics), jointly created by his company and the CNRS in 2009. He is the inventor of nine families of innovations. The ABX464Il molecule which targets HIV is currently in its second phase of clinical trials.