H3D Foundation supports sustainable capacity building in drug innovation and science in Africa
COVID-19 has highlighted a lively debate on how to unlock Africa’s health innovation potential. It put the spotlight on the limited capacity of most African nations within a complex drug innovation ecosystem, and the need for locally driven drug discovery and response, both during a pandemic and to meet ongoing health needs.
The H3D Foundation was established in 2019 to create an absorptive capacity for securing, building and retaining skilled African scientists within innovative R&D. This will help to ensure the skills that Africa will need to move into the next decade as it seeks to become more self-reliant and to become a global player in innovative pharmaceutical R&D.
The Holistic Drug Discovery and Development (H3D) Centre, University of Cape Town (UCT), was established in 2010 and is a fully integrated drug discovery platform, the first of its kind on the African continent. Its mission is to:
- Discover and develop innovative, life saving medicines for communicable diseases that predominantly affect African patients
- Build Africa-specific models to contribute to improving treatment outcomes in African patients
- Educate African scientists in drug discovery-related sciences.
To date, H3D’s capacity development programs have provided opportunities to more than 40 scientists across Africa. The Centre has a significant footprint in South Africa, by supporting Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDI’s) through drug discovery services and mentorship, and throughout Africa, notably through its Grand Challenges Africa Drug Discovery Program.
While H3D’s primary focus remains on its drug discovery platforms, the H3D Foundation seeks to renew and expand the Centre’s capacity building programs and outreach, developing new initiatives to fill critical skills gaps for laboratory and clinical activities and strengthen innovation and access to drugs in the region.
Building on H3D’s success, the H3D Foundation aims to secure the future-facing skills that Africa will need to become a more self-reliant and globally engaged player in innovative pharmaceutical R&D. They are a credible voice for evidence-based global health, countering misinformation about research and science in Africa. In particular, the Foundation aims to provide support through
- Capacity building including scientific mobility
- Network and connection building by providing mentorship through H3D’s expansive list of partner and collaborators and
- Fundraising initiatives for infrastructure, mentorship programs and scientific events.
COVID-19 put the spotlight on the limited capacity of most African nations within a complex drug innovation ecosystem, and the need for locally driven drug discovery and response, both during a pandemic and to meet ongoing health needs. IFPMA members, especially those engaged in policy and R&D, are encouraged to get involved through partnering, mentorship and exchange.
Interested in engaging with H3D Foundation to bolster drug discovery in Africa and nurture a sustainable innovation ecosystem?
Visit H3D Foundation’s website.