Cape Town, October 27th, 2021 – ICGEB Director-General,Lawrence Banks sign an agreement with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, enabling partnerships with local companies to develop advanced biotherapeutics.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was preceded by a webinar organised by BioAfrica, entitled: Advancing Biotech Innovation in Africa: Partnership between ICGEB and UKZN, followed by a panel discussion with researchers and students from UKZN.
Following an initial meeting in August, 2021 between the ICGEB Cape Town component andthe University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), ICGEB Director-General, Dr. Lawrence Banks and ICGEBScientific Coordinator Dr. Vittorio Venturi, accompanied by ICGEB Cape Town staff, met with Dr. Phil Mjwara, Director-General of the Department of Science and Innovation of the South African Government, Prof. Mosa Moshabela, UKZN Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Prof. Ncoza Dlova, Dean & Head of School, Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, and Prof. Anil Chuturgoon, College Dean: Research, College of Health Sciences, together with Dr. Nhlanhla Msomi, President of AfricaBio and ICGEB Appointed Governor for South Africa, for the official signing of the MoU in Cape Town on 27 October 2021.
The agreement will see the university partnering with local companies to develop advanced biotherapeutics (biosimilars for the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and other diseases). The UKZN will be responsible for conducting clinical trials throughout 2021, ultimately leading to greater access to biosimilars for the general public and underprivileged population.
Other partnerships are expected to ensue with the universities of Limpopo, Venda, and Walter Sisulu (Eastern Cape), following the tour by ICGEB Management and staff and a delegation from DSI in October, thus shifting the biotechnology innovation landscape to include local industry for the benefit of the population.
29 October 2021, The Mail & Guardian: UKZN and UN agency partnership paves the way for access to medicine
25 October 2021,The Mail & Guardian: MoU signing between the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the ICGEB