Jamal Tazi | Conference 2019 Skip to main content

Topic

 

ABIVAX Therapeutics: Targeting RNA biogenesis opens a new era of therapeutic intervention in viral and inflammatory diseases

 

ABIVAX Therapeutics between the biotechnology company ABIVAX and public institutions; CNRS, University of Montpellier and Curie Institute, has built its technology based on cutting-edge science driven by the goal of developing therapeutics that stimulate the body’s natural immune mechanisms to cure diseases. The proprietary library of 2000 small molecule candidates has been generated and is stringently analyzed by ABIVAX Therapeutics to select and develop agents optimally suited for this therapeutic approach. The most advanced compound, ABX464, has completed a Phase 2a clinical trial studying its potent anti-inflammatory effect and its potential ability to treat ulcerative colitis. Following the positive results from this trial, ABIVAX is advancing ABX464 into Phase 2b clinical trials in ulcerative colitis as well as Phase 2a clinical trials in Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

ABX464 has also completed two Phase 2a clinical trials studying its ability to reduce viral reservoirs in patients with HIV. This reduction is necessary for any viable cure of HIV, and ABIVAX is striving to develop this candidate to fill this unmet need.

ABX464’s anti-inflammatory and anti-HIV effects are caused by a molecular cascade initiated by its binding to a region of the messenger or viral RNA molecule in cells, called the cap-binding complex, or CBC. This binding results in the splicing of HIV RNA and a long, non-coding RNA, that induces the overexpression of a single micro-RNA, miR-124. miR-124 initiates a cascade which is believed to propagate the anti-inflammatory effect that has been observed in preclinical models.

 

 

Biography

 

 

Prof. Jamal Tazi, Ph.D. VP research at ABIVAX, Director of the Abivax – CNRS Collaborative Laboratory

 

Jamal is 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. He performed a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Molecular Pathology (Vienna, Austria), before joining the CNRS in 1990. For 29 years, he led his team within the Institute for Molecular Genetics in Montpellier (IGMM) to gain a better understanding of gene expression and editing of their RNA products. In 2008 Jamal Tazi co-founded the company Splicos and established its partnership with public institutions as a cooperative laboratory, where he became Scientific Director. In 2014 Splicos merged with two other small biotech companies to become ABIVAX that was introduced into Euronext market to raise € 57.7 million. Since then ABIVAX has secured funding from BPI (Banque Publique d’Investissement) and Occitanie region to focus on developing therapies to effectively treat inflammatory and viral diseases as well as cancer.

 Abivax’s technology is based on cutting-edge science driven by the goal of developing therapeutics that stimulate the body’s natural immune mechanisms to cure diseases. The proprietary library of small molecule candidates is stringently analyzed by the collaborative laboratory to select and develop agents optimally suited for this therapeutic approach.

 ABIVAX most advanced compound, ABX464, has completed a Phase 2a clinical trial studying its potent anti-inflammatory effect and its potential ability to treat ulcerative colitis. Following the positive results from this trial, ABIVAX is advancing ABX464 into Phase 2b clinical trials in ulcerative colitis as well as Phase 2a clinical trials in Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis in the first quarter of 2019.

ABX464 has also completed two Phase 2a clinical trials studying its ability to reduce viral reservoirs in patients with HIV. This reduction is necessary for any viable cure of HIV, and ABIVAX is striving to develop this candidate to fill this unmet need. The Phase 2b program is expected to start in the first half of 2019.

ABX464’s anti-inflammatory and anti-HIV effects are caused by a molecular cascade initiated by its binding to a region of the messenger or viral RNA molecule in cells, called the cap-binding complex, or CBC. This binding results in the splicing of HIV RNA and a long, non-coding RNA, that induces the overexpression of a single micro-RNA, miR-124. miR-124 initiates a cascade which is believed to propagate the anti-inflammatory effect that has been observed in preclinical models.

 Jamal has co-authored over 98 publications in some of the leading international journals like Cell, Nature, Science…. His work on RNA metabolism and its role in human disease earned him four prizes: French Academy of Sciences (1999), French Academy of Medicine (2006), ARRI (2010), and CNRS Medal of Innovation (2017). Internationally, Jamal is the coordinator of a European Associated Laboratory (LEA) and also a member of a European network of excellence (EURASNET) which brings together the best European research centers working on alternative splicing.