DNDi mourns passing of Guy Mazué

Respected toxicologist was a long-time colleague and friend to DNDi

DNDi has learned, with great sadness, that long-time colleague and friend Guy Mazué has passed away. Guy worked closely with DNDi from its founding in 2003 and even before, advising the working group that created DNDi. He was involved in much of the organization’s toxicology work for many years, including on pre-clinical and clinical drug candidates for malaria, sleeping sickness, and leishmaniasis.

“He was a wise person, larger than life, and a friend and mentor to several of us within the DNDi team,” said Dr Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi. “Guy worked with us as a consultant from the beginning; it was a privilege to count on his collaboration and expertise.”

“For me, he was like a mentor, a guide. I learned a lot with him,” said Stéphanie Braillard, Non-Clinical Development Senior Manager, DNDi. “He was very generous, and especially generous with the help he provided. If I had any questions regarding a molecule, a safety concern, a strategy to move ahead, I could ask him at any time.”

As an expert toxicologist, Guy worked in senior posts at Sanofi and, later, Pharmacia and Upjohn, where he was Vice President, Deputy Worldwide Toxicology. He was also an expert and member of several working groups of the French drug regulatory agency, Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des Produits de Santé.

“He had a lot of patience to share, explain, and teach, and he had a great sense of humour and a lot of humility,” noted Dr Robert Don, Discovery & Pre-Clinical Director at DNDi from 2005 to 2017. “The whole drug discovery group would turn to Guy for explanations. He really taught people toxicology.”

After his retirement, Guy continued to work as a consultant, including with DNDi, most recently helping the team to successfully bring leishmaniasis drug candidates DNDI-0690 and DNDI-6148 to first-in-human clinical trials. Even after he stopped working as a consultant, he continued to answer questions from the Discovery and Translation teams.

Guy was also a keen winemaker and connoisseur, a great cook, and an organizer of wonderful parties.

“He had a great laugh, and also these big workers’ hands, not the hands you might expect of someone who worked in offices and labs! Big calloused hands from working outside in the field. He produced wine from his own grapes,” remembered Dr Isabela Ribeiro, Head, Dynamic Portfolio Unit, DNDi, who first met Guy in the 1990s when they both worked at Pharmacia.

“When I retired from DNDi, his farewell gift to me was a lovely bottle of his own eau de vie,” said Robert.

I will definitely think of Guy when I finish my own bottles of Mirabelle and Poire William. This might take a few years!” added Stéphanie.

Guy would have celebrated his 76th birthday last week.