The University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D), the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) have committed funding for the discovery of new drugs for diseases endemic to Africa over the next two years.
The new funding will be given through a call for proposals for Drug Discovery offering up to $100,000 per project to researchers in Africa to identify new drug candidates, particularly for malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and neglected tropical diseases. The programme also aims to create a network of drug discovery and development scientists in Africa and across the globe.

Recognised globally for its research in the fields of malaria and TB, the integrated drug discovery and development centre, H3D will be a key partner in the collaboration. The centre will provide opportunities to African partners to be immersed within its ongoing malaria and TB drug discovery projects as full project members, working from their home institutions.

“African-led innovation in drug discovery has historically been hampered by a number of factors, including but not limited to the absence of a critical mass of appropriately skilled scientists as well as poor access to infrastructure, enabling technology platforms and expertise. Therefore, there is a strong need to find sustainable solutions that build local capacity while getting the job done. This new programme does just that,” said Professor Kelly Chibale, founder of H3D.

H3D will also offer grantees the opportunity to use its infrastructure, technology platforms and expertise to fill gaps in their own environment.

The centre will provide project management support as well as guidance with the interpretation of data. Successful applicants will also be able to tap into H3D and the pharmaceutical industry’s scientist exchange programmes, enabling them to gain valuable additional skills.

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