Africa innovates Magazine -AI4DEV - Flipbook - Page 15
W H AT H A S B E E N T H E I M PA C T
O F YO U R P R O D U C T ?
South Africa is currently a net importer of these reagents,
enzymes and kits used for DNA analysis. With the global
lockdown regulations in place, access to the reagents has
become limited, impeding our efforts to diagnose and
control the spread of the virus. The high costs of these
imported products, together with the increasing Rand
to Dollar exchange rate, are placing constraints on our
limited resources to conduct nationwide testing.
With our invention, our country will now spend less
on our test kits and more importantly have them readily
available in order to manage the spread of the virus.
instrumental in helping us to deploy our technology to
W H AT H E L P W O U L D YO U N E E D
TO S C A L E U P A N D I M P R OV E
YO U R P R O D U C T ?
The most important aspect of our technology is it can be
deployed even beyond the pandemic as a tool for general
diagnostics. We need channels to share our technologies
with other African laboratories, research institutions and
organizations doing molecular research and testing. The
need to scale up will be influenced by our ability to reach
as many users as possible on the continent.
H O W D I D YO U S TA RT YO U R
T E L L U S A B O U T YO U R S E L F A N D
YO U R B A C KG R O U N D .
I wanted to study medicine but diverted to study biotechnology as I got interested in biotech due to many opportunities in the industry. From my background research
the USA, Europe and Asia were the leading technology
developers and I did not understand why, Africa with such
a diverse population and professionals across the world,
did not have any form of popularity in the global biotech
space. This realisation helped me understand that Africa
needed to find its own solutions to its challenges and that
biotech could play a pivotal role in this regard.
My biotech courses enabled me to know how to engineer, rationalize and develop novel biologics at commercial scale for different biotech applications.
After doing my Masters degree in structural biology
at the University of Pretoria, South Africa – specializing
in protein crystallography – I became part of a CSIR
research team that conceptualized CapeBio’s spin-out. I
worked as a technologist and business developer for the
initiative. Today I am CapeBio’s founding CEO.
We have successfully commercialized a scientific
research project, launched a biotech company that won
both local and international awards with well-established
international partners and a growing footprint.
I have a Masters degree in structural biology – trained in
protein engineering and crystallography by the University
of Pretoria, bioprocess engineering and bio-manufacturing by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
(CSIR). I have multiple awards and scholarships for excellence in academics, social responsibility, student leadership, and entrepreneurial initiatives. I am a fellow of Allan
Gray Orbis Foundation, which provides education beyond
a degree, offering entrepreneurial training to ensure that
Fellows create value through responsible entrepreneurship, view entrepreneurship as a viable career path and
strengthen their ability to take an idea and develop it into
a viable opportunity.
I am the CEO of CapeBio Technologies, a South African
company that develops Life Science tools and molecular
biology reagents, enzymes and kits to empower African
Scientists, Research and Development (R&D) institutions
and companies to innovate in the academic and healthcare industries.
W H AT A R E T H E C H A L L E N G E S
TO P R O D U C I N G A N D
D E P LOY I N G YO U R P R O D U C T ?
We are not a well-established brand but we compete
with multinationals. The government of South Africa
and some of the local private organizations have been
W H AT A R E YO U R H O P E S FO R
T H E F U T U R E O F YO U R I N N OVA T I O N A N D YO U R B U S I N E S S ?
As a company, we have created a platform for making diagnostic kits. We would like to position our company as a
biotech center of excellence in Africa – responding directly to African diseases outbreaks and using our proprietary
platform to invent and manufacture other technologies.
Our mission is “to deliver excellence in innovation so that
others can have quality of life”.
The most important aspect of
our technology is that it can be
deployed even beyond the
pandemic as it is a central tool
for general diagnostics.
SHOWCASING AFRICAN INNOVATION 15