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Ionis Pharmaceuticals CSO Receives Gabbay Award

Frank Bennett, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has been named a co-recipient of the 23rd Jacob and Louise Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine for his groundbreaking work on antisense medicine. The Gabbay Award was established in 1998 to honor experts in academia, treatment, and industry whose work in the biomedical sciences has had high scientific content and significant practical implications.

The Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center at Brandeis University administers the award, consisting of a medallion and a monetary prize. In the fall, Dr. Bennett will give a lecture at Brandeis University. Dr. Bennett and Adrian R. Krainer, Ph.D. of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, shared this year’s award. Drs. Bennett and Krainer worked together to develop SPINRAZA (nusinersen). This RNA-targeting antisense medication is now the global standard of care for SMA treatment, a terrible neurodegenerative disease.

Dr. Bennett, a founding member of Ionis Pharmaceuticals, is in charge of furthering antisense technology and expanding Ionis’ discovery platform. He also serves as the franchise leader for Ionis’ neurological programs. Dr. Bennett won the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.

He is a co-recipient of the inaugural Healy Center International Prize for Innovation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and the 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his contributions to the discovery and development of SPINRAZA (alongside Dr. Krainer) (ALS). Dr. Bennett also received the Leslie Gehry Brenner Prize for Innovation in Science from the Hereditary Disease Foundation for his leadership and sustained commitment to finding antisense therapeutics for Huntington’s disease.

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