Powerful, locally driven partnerships for health innovation in Africa

27 November 2023 Lusaka, ZM & online

27 November 2023


09:00 – 11:00 CAT


IFPMA and H3D Foundation


Mulungushi International Conference Center


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How H3D and its Foundation are breaking barriers in innovation

As an official side event of the 3rd International Conference on Public Health in Africa, H3D Foundation and IFPMA will co-organize a session focused on how the Holistic Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D), based at the University of Cape Town, and its Foundation are breaking barriers in health innovation through powerful, locally driven partnerships.

From collaborations to accelerate African drug discovery and API manufacturing, to those that build young African scientists’ skills and communities of practice, and equally those that foster dialogue between government, academic, and private sector on the frameworks needed for innovation to thrive – H3D and its Foundation are driving discourse and action to strengthen the capacity of Africa’s scientists and experts, while profoundly shaping its ability to improve health outcomes through targeted approaches that serve African populations.

This H3D showcase and panel discussion will present key lessons learned from H3D’s project-based approach to research and development and inform how African institutions are moulding Africa’s health systems and future health security.

It will also elaborate on the long and risky pharmaceutical innovation journey and the benefit it brings for patients and healthcare systems. Speakers will illustrate how this innovation journey relies on unique competencies and skills, but also on collaboration and perseverance from researchers, scientists, and engineers who are #AlwaysInnovating to help translate scientific advances into medicines and vaccines in Africa.

Participation at this CPHIA side event will be on a first-come, first-served basis for in-person participation. Please register to participate online here.


Mulungushi International Conference Center
Bamboo, New Wing
8025 Great E Rd
Lusaka, Zambia


Kelly Chibale Chairman and CEO of the H3D Foundation

Kelly Chibale is a full Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where he holds the Neville Isdell Chair in African-centric Drug Discovery & Development. He is also a Full Member of the UCT Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine, founding Director of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Drug Discovery & Development Research Unit at UCT, the Founder and Director of the UCT Drug Discovery and Development (H3D) Centre, a Johnson and Johnson (J&J) Satellite Centre for Global Health Discovery.  He is also the Chairman and CEO of the H3D Foundation.

Kelly obtained his PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the University of Cambridge in the UK (1989-1992). This was followed by postdoctoral stints at the University of Liverpool in the UK (1992-94) and at the Scripps Research Institute in the USA (1994-96). He was a Sandler Sabbatical Fellow at the University of California San Francisco (2002), a US Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2008) and a Visiting Professor at Pfizer in the UK (2008).

Kelly’s many notable awards and honors include being named as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in 2018 by Fortune magazine and in 2022 as one of the 25 standout voices in African public health by Harvard University’s Public Health magazine. He is the Editor-In-Chief of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

His research interests are in infectious disease drug discovery and the development of preclinical discovery tools and models to contribute to improving treatment outcomes in people of African heritage.

Karim Bendhaou Africa Engagement Committee Chair, IFPMA and Head of Africa Bureau, Merck Group

Dr. Karim Bendhaou (MD, MBA) has served as President of North and West Africa operations (40 countries of Africa) for Merck for over 18 years until September 2018 and, since then, he heads the Africa Bureau and coordinates all of Merck’s corporate, strategic, and executive decisions in Africa. He has been appointed, in August 2019, as Africa Engagement Committee Chair of the IFPMA.

He has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for almost 22 years, building up strong pan-African organizations, gaining extensive experience in biotech medicines and biosimilars, and leading a successful enterprise, all the while keeping the patient in mind and increasing the commitment of the organization to the UNDG and to high ethical values.

Passionate about Africa, he is highly committed to driving the continent forward helping, through public-private partnerships, to lead the improvement of healthcare with a focus on digital technology and adoption of innovative ideas. Through the various corporate social responsibility projects, he has worked together with governments and non-governmental organizations to assure access to treatment. He has recently been involved in equitable access to vaccines through the dissemination of technology allowing the manufacture and local filling of the vaccine.

He is also sponsor of several Startups fighting against falsified medicines and others working for the establishment of a system ensuring the supply sustainability for Africa regardless of the events that may affect the planet. In November 2020, he has been appointed as a commissioner for the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC).

Belinda Bhoodoo-Smith Associate Director, Lilly Global Health Partnerships; Non-executive Director, Lilly South Africa

Belinda Bhoodoo-Smith is Associate Director for the Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) Global Health Partnership Programs in South Africa, Sub-Sahara Africa, and India as well as non-executive Director for Lilly South Africa.

With over 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Belinda joined Lilly in 2004, where she held various roles in sales, marketing, and business leadership in South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa. Her most recent assignment was that of Corporate Affairs Director for the Lilly affiliate in South Africa. In that role, she led teams responsible for policy, government affairs, market access, key accounts, public relations, advocacy, and communications as well as corporate social responsibility work.

In 2021 and 2022, Belinda enjoyed a secondment with the International Federation for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), where she led the Local Production Task Team for the Africa Engagement Committee and managed the relationship with H3D Foundation.

Belinda holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and BSc Honours in pharmacology from the University of the Witwatersrand as well as a Management Advancement Programme (MAP) certificate from the Wits Business School. She is in the process of completing her MBA with the Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA).

Clara Heering Global Public Health R&D, RLS Clinical Implementation Lead, J&J

With more than three decades of successful leadership and transformations of risk-based, high-quality clinical research and innovative medical solutions development, Clara Heering is passionate about collaborating to deliver healthier lives for patients across the globe. In her current role, she brings together multiple stakeholders and associations to drive the building of infrastructure and capacity to conduct compliant clisical trials in resource-limited settings.

Clara obtained her MsC in medical biology from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and a MsC in risk analysis from King’s College in London. Prior to J&J, she worked at Harvard Medical School, Pfizer, IQVIA, and ICON, serving patients starting as a Research Fellow and growing to Senior Vice President. She joined J&J in 2017 in the cross-sector JJCO team, where she led the portfolio of clinical operations and led the development and deployment of a fit-for-purpose QMS and Agile Trials Model prior to joining the GPH R&D capacity building team.

Clara volunteered for the ACRP for over 20 years and was their Chair of the Board in 2012. She also taught Risk at King’s College London and volunteered for both DIA and EFGCP.

Costa Maonei Head of Medical Affairs for the East and Southern Africa Cluster, Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Dr Costa Maonei is the Head of Medical Affairs for the East and Southern Africa Cluster, Novartis Pharmaceuticals. A medical doctor, clinical epidemiologist, and pharmaceutical physician by qualification, he has close to 20 years combined experience in clinical practice, public health, and the pharmaceutical industry. His journey before and with Novartis has given him exposure to large parts Sub-Saharan Africa and its differing healthcare systems, an experience that has brought with it learnings, failures, and achievements in equal measure.

As part of the Sub Saharan Africa Business Unit, which in turn is part of Novartis Corporate Affairs, Dr Maonei is a member of a team whose mandate is to find ways to unlock access to medicines and health to patients and communities who would otherwise not have the same opportunities. In so doing, they play an active part in narrowing the health access gap between low- and middle-income countries and the developed world. Programs are aimed at strengthening health systems, creation of partnerships focused on access and capacity building at all levels of care, and establishing sustainable and Africa-specific models around healthcare funding and access to care.

Prof Grace Mugumbate Drug Discovery and Informatics Research Group, Midlands State University
Alice Neequaye Associate Director, Quality, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)

Alice Neequaye is Associate Director, Quality at MMV, where she oversees quality aspects for the organization.

With a rich background spanning 16 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Alice commenced her journey as a project manager, steadily shouldering greater responsibilities over time.

Alice’s trajectory at MMV began as a Quality Officer, and, today, she stands at the helm of the Quality group.

Beyond her professional roles, Alice has been a steadfast advocate for amplifying the voices of the unheard. Her dedication materialized in the establishment and leadership of MMV’s Equitable Partnership group, a role she has passionately embraced for several years.

The Equitable Partnership platform, under Alice’s guidance, has become a cornerstone of MMV’s strategic vision for 2024-2030. Formally recognized for the past two years, this initiative reflects Alice’s unwavering commitment to fostering stronger, healthier, and more enduring collaborations.

Holding a master’s degree in chemical and biological chemistry from the Swiss National Institute of Technology, Alice Neequaye is not just shaping the narrative of quality at MMV but is also championing equitable partnerships that resonate far beyond the realms of the pharmaceutical industry.

Zoleka Ngcete Senior Programme Manager, Grants, Innovation, and Product Development, South African Medical Research Council
Greg Perry Assistant Director General, IFPMA

See speaker bio here

Susan Winks Head of Research Operations and Business Development, H3D

Dr Susan Winks (PhD, MBA) is the Head of Research Operations and Business Development at the Holistic Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D) at the University of Cape Town. She manages the team of professional staff that support the interdisciplinary drug discovery work at the centre. Her role includes ensuring operational continuity and sustainable growth by long-term strategic planning, management of partnerships and stakeholders, fundraising and renewal of funding agreements, management of internal governance structures, and portfolio oversight. Since joining H3D in 2013, Dr Winks has worked closely with the Director to raise over R800 million in research funding, grown the centre from 12 to 76 staff members, and systematically introduced systems (governance, project management, HR, data management, mentorship etc.) and new capabilities to support sustainable growth. Her passion is around strategic planning and optimizing work environments to maximize the positive impact of the work to solve global problems.


Renewed partnership to boost the skills needed to drive drug discovery and development in Africa