Investment in biomedical research sustained

Cape Town | The Strategic Health and Innovation Partnerships (SHIP) unit of the SAMRC continues to show its commitment to enriching biomedical research that seeks to ease the burden of disease in poor and under resourced communities. 

Since its inception in 2013, SHIP has managed, and funded a number of key projects. Earlier this year SHIP supported a programme Exatype; a new medical innovation that will improve the ability of clinicians to diagnose HIV drug resistant patients. This in response to statistics that show that of the estimated 3.1 million South Africans currently on ARV treatment, almost 10% do not respond adequately to the first line drugs that are provided to them.
“Essentially, we intend to focus on biomedical products and solutions that will respond to the needs of the average South African,” says Grants, Innovation and Product Development (GIPD), Executive Director Dr Richard Gordon. “Through partnerships, we facilitate the transfer of research outputs to improve health outcomes and social benefits, specifically for under resourced communities.”

SHIP has also launched three cutting-edge medical devices that have changed the country’s health care landscape. The Secure Airway Clamp which is an endotracheal tube retaining device that will prevent tooth damage during intubation and facial blemishing post anaesthesia; Gknowmix which is a web-based genetic testing approach used to identify disease pathways that could contribute to medication side-effects or failure as well as the Mobile Triage app that promises to improve triage accuracy for health care workers in hospitals.

“South African science is globally relevant.  We continue to invest in projects that will change and improve health care,” says Dr Gordon.

SHIP intends to further entrench its commitment to enhancing the capacity of South African science by pursuing investors and investment opportunities whose contribution will advance health outcomes, benefit societies and improve on the overall existing South African health sciences landscape. The innovation partnership recently joined both private and government partners at the 2016 Bio International Convention in San Francisco USA in encouraging global investment into South African bio technology research.

They showcased their biomedical investment projects such as their flagship projects including TB and malaria drug discovery projects; the clinical guideline app; the secure airway clamp as well as the mobile triage app.

The Exatype program is being developed by Hyrax Biosciences Exatype and is a bespoke software solution that enables cost-effective drug resistance genotyping. Exatype was created to be a user-friendly, end-to-end software solutions that analyses DNA with unrivalled accuracy, reducing complex sequencing data that is given to a doctor as a clear clinical report. 

Gknowmix is a gateway for scientists, healthcare practitioners and laboratories to integrate genetics with clinical indicators and environmental risk. It is a meld of pathological test outcomes, lifestyle indicators and genetic testing. Data pooled from these different sources enable the development of multiplex tests and treatment programs tailored to the needs of the individual. It is essentially a precision medicine approach to health care. SHIP supports the development of a breast cancer genetic screening test.

Release date: 
Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 08:55
Keletso Ratsela
Contact: Keletso Ratsela

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