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Drug discovery excellence is a critical prerequisite for success in drug development and remains a highly neglected area for the African continent. The lack of market incentives has biased drug discovery efforts globally away from diseases most prevalent in the developing world. Collaborative efforts of multidisciplinary teams – in drug discovery and other fields – shows that success and efficiency increases significantly when individual contributors combine their complementary capabilities. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. State-of-the-art approaches to implementing drug discovery projects, especially when the goal is to also build drug discovery capability on the African continent, need to be supported.
The founder and director of Africa’s first integrated drug discovery centre, Professor Kelly Chibale, has been named as one of Fortune magazine’s World’s Greatest Leaders for 2018.
Chibale, whose H3D centre at the University of Cape Town pioneers world-class drug discovery in Africa, has also become known for his pivotal work on malaria.
45. Kelly Chibale
Scientist, South Africa
In much of Africa, the infrastructure to support scientific research is sorely lacking. But Chibale is working to change that. The Zambian chemist has built H3D, Africa’s first integrated drug discovery center, at the University of Cape Town. His team now includes more than 90 researchers; they work out of state-of-the-art facilities thanks to partnerships with the Gates Foundation, Novartis, and South Africa’s government. H3D already has a potential drug for malaria in human trials.
We chat with Professor Kelly Chibale from the South African Medical Research Council to get an update on Malaria and which hotspots to watch out for over the festive season.
Having grown up in the villages and townships of Zambia, Professor Kelly Chibale became well acquainted with the ravages of malaria at a young age. Now, inspired by a deep spirituality and a love of chemistry, his invaluable contribution to the ongoing battle against this disease – among others – has been awarded an A rating by the National Research Foundation.
MedChemNet and Infectious Diseases Hub were absolutely delighted to attend the first two days of the recent 19th RSC / SCI Medicinal Chemistry Symposium – Europe’s premier biennial Medicinal Chemistry event – focusing on first disclosures of significant new therapeutic agents across all disease areas and new strategies in medicinal chemistry.
Kelly Chibale, Professor of Organic Chemistry at Cape Town University in South Africa, talks about his drug discovery work and coming up with compounds that might have an impact on malaria control and elimination
This week, we were fortunate to catch up with Professor Kelly Chibale, Principal Investigator at the University of Cape Town, founder of Africa’s first drug discovery and development centre, H3D, and one of the speakers at our #ScienceAfrica UnConference this year. Professor Chibale spoke eloquently about his efforts to create novel medicines to combat the major diseases in Africa as well as his concerted advocacy for greater investment in hard scientific infrastructure.
The University of Pretoria (UP) will host its first Community of Practice (CoP) focusing specifically on Malaria Elimination in the UP Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control (UP ISMC). This NRF initiative endeavours to provide ‘vehicles to enable the implementation of integrated trans-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary solutions to address societal challenges and to ultimately bring change to the lives of South Africans.