UCT alumnus and former Coke CEO donates millions to UCT to find new crucial drugs

2019-06-27 12:33
UCT vice-chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images)

UCT vice-chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng (Esa Alexander, Gallo Images)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A University of Cape Town alumnus has given the tertiary institution about R18m towards research about new life-saving drugs for infectious diseases.

Neville Isdell, a former Coca-Cola chairperson and CEO, donated $1.24m to the UCT Drug Discovery and Development Centre, H3D. According to UCT, the "generous donation" will be used to establish an initial five-year Neville Isdell Chair in African-Centric Drug Discovery and Development at H3D.

H3D's director and founder, Professor Kelly Chibale, will hold the chair position, which includes the directorship of H3D.

"I am excited about playing a part in helping to achieve African solutions to public health challenges on the continent and across the world. I hope this support will help Professor Chibale to drive and lead innovative research and development (R&D) of new malaria medicines, as well as new tuberculosis (TB) and antimicrobial resistance treatments, and train a new generation of African scientists with key modern pharmaceutical skills required to discover modern medicines," said Isdell.

The donation will be used partly to lead efforts in establishing the H3D African Drug Metabolism and Disposition Project, also known as the H3D 'African Liver Project'.

Chibale said the aim was to develop a pre-clinical discovery tool that could be used to prioritise drug candidates.

"In addition to providing useful data for targeted clinical trial design, and eventually for the establishment of better directed drug dosage and dosage intervals, the 'African Liver Project' will also make H3D a unique centre of excellence where scientists from the Global North and Africa will work hand in hand to better understand genetic variability in diverse African populations," said Chibale.

Potentially life-saving work

H3D was launched eight years ago and is home to 60 staffers. It has in its portfolio a potential drug for malaria in human trial phase.

The anti-malarial candidate has the potential to cure, block transmission and protect in a single dose. Its portfolio also includes projects around tuberculosis and antimicrobial resistance.

UCT vice-chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, said the generous donation was an endorsement of the pioneering research and work done by H3D, and would help to expand its potentially life-saving work within Africa.

"Because of H3D's initial achievements, the chair will be extremely well placed to assume a leadership role in finding effective solutions to the discovery of life-saving innovative new medicines. The post will be powerfully placed for guiding thinking, discussion and decision-making on the African continent.

"Its impact will be both wide-ranging and novel since H3D is the first and only one of its kind on the African continent, and one of the rare integrated drug discovery and development centres set up within an academic environment worldwide."

Last year, Chibale was named as one of Fortune magazine's "50 World's Greatest Leaders" for 2018 for his work, and was included in Fortune magazine's annual list of "Influential figures we admire most".

Isdell was born in Ireland and raised in Zambia. He pursued a Bachelor of Social Science degree at UCT and later joined Coca-Cola in Zambia in 1966, before rising to CEO of The Coca-Cola company in the mid-2000s.


Read more on:    uct  |  cape town  |  academics  |  health  |  medicine  |  education
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.