Manuel Rosa-calatrava Professor (Research Director DR2, PhD) at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM)

Course and current status

Current position

Deputy Director VirPath Laboratory (CIRI U1111 INSERM - UMR 5308 CNRS - ENS Lyon - University Claude Bernard – Lyon, France)

Head of group "Molecular and cellular signature of influenza, vaccine and antivirals"

Co-founder and Director of the Technology Research Platform VirNext

Co-founder and associate Signia Therapeutics

Co-founder and associate Vaxxel

ORCID 0000-0002-7559-9527


Degrees, diploma and duties

2009 Accreditation to supervise research (HDR), University of Lyon 1, France

2008 29th conference in economic intelligence, IHEDN

2006 Post-graduate diploma in applied research and biomedical innovation, University Pierre et Marie Curie, France

2001 PhD, IGBMC at the University of Strasbourg, France

Scientific summary

The (re)emergence of new influenza viruses or coronavirus variants, confirms that we are in front of recurrent and unpredictable risk of epidemics and pandemic. Additionally, limits of the current prophylactic and therapeutic arsenal (deadline/unavailability of vaccination and antiviral resistance) require the development of new alternative strategies against respiratory viruses.

In this context, my team relies on an extensive fundamental research (75 publications in peer-reviewed journals since 2009) and combines technology and biomedical approaches in order to develop new strategies to better control respiratory viruses. We developed innovative and breakthrough strategies to (i) identify new antivirals (repurposing of already marketed drugs); (ii) develop new live attenuated viral vaccine candidate and optimize industrial production of vaccine seeds and antigens; and (iii) develop specific protocols and bench tests for microbiological decontamination.

We are engaged in a strong policy of industrial property and we integrate economic and social dimension in our strategy of technology transfer. In this context, (i) a portfolio of 17 patent families was built in the field of antiviral and vaccine, 7 of them were licenced (ii) numerous collaborative industrial projects are underway as part of several international competitive clusters like LYONBIOPOLE, AXELERA, MEDICEN, PEGASE (iii) a Technology Research platform ( was founded and awarded by the French National Institute for Industrial Property (INPI), (iv) three start-up were created: VirHealth (2014), Signia Therapeutics (2017) and Vaxxel (2019). Of note, Signia Therapeutics was laureate of the iLab 2017 award (French Ministry of Higher Education, Research & Innovation/BPI France) and awarded the EIC Accelerator EU H2020 Framework program in 20120 and the French Tech Seed Label in 2019.

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