One Innovation, One Vision and South-South Collaboration To Advance Health Innovation

Biolab, Panarea Partners Inc, the Department of Science and Technology, and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), were at the International BIO 2019 Convention, Philadelphia, United States. BIO 2019 presented an opportunity to collaborate around the development of a potential novel treatment of Tuberculosis – Dapaconazole, a product invented and developed by Biolab Sanus Farmaceutica - one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Brazil.

Dapaconazole is a potent imidazole (organic compound) with robust performance against Aspergillus niger, the leading agent of severe fungal infections in immunocompromised or immunosuppressed patients, and Trichophyton sp, causative agents in dermatomycoses. A topical formulation of this innovative compound is nearing completion of Phase III trials in Brazil.

TB remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developing countries and continues to be a public health crisis and a health security threat. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there were 558 000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug – of which 82% had MDR-TB, and about 8.5% of MDR-TB cases had extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).

“This novel medical innovation was enabled through a novel partnering scheme, with multiple parties coming together as one,” says Shelley des Etages-Wong, Associate Partner at Panarea Partners Inc.

“This is an exciting development that shows the significance of South-South collaboration and how together we can advance health innovation that will impact the developing world,” says Glaudina Loots, Director: Health Technology; Department of Science and Technology (DST), at BIO Convention where the DST led a roundtable discussion of South Africa’s White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation.

Richard Gordon, Executive Director, Grants, Innovation and Product Development at the SAMRC agrees, “the SAMRC is Africa’s largest funder of health research and innovation in Africa, strengthening South-South ties is fundamental to building research capacity, self-reliance and sustainable development of countries from the global South.”

Cleiton Marques, CEO Biolab, concurs, “we look forward to developing significant benefits across the globe through our current and future investments and commitments to innovation and R&D. Dapaconazole is hopefully the first of multiple South-South collaborations to address unmet medical needs in infectious diseases and other therapeutic areas.”

It Starts with One was BIO 2019’s theme and it is in this spirit of oneness that medical innovation can have an impact on global health.

Note to the Editor:

Biolab is a Brazilian pharmaceutical company that has built a successful record, permeated by the dedication and prominence in innovation. With a robust portfolio of more than 100 products, Biolab is in constant innovation and committed to the future. Headquartered in Brazil with an R&D facility in Toronto Canada, Biolab is the market leader in Cardiology and a top-rated company in the areas of Gynecology, Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Rheumatology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Endocrinology, Geriatrics, Urology and Hospital Products.

Panarea Partners Inc
Panarea Partners is the first healthcare and life sciences strategic advisory & boutique investment banking firm founded by leading US investors and global executives to deliver transformative industry growth in Latin America and Africa.

Department of Science and Technology
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) derives its mandate from the 1996 White Paper on Science and Technology. The basic premise is that science, technology and innovation (STI) play a critical role in economic growth and socio-economic development. The 2009-2014 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) identifies technology innovation as one of the critical policy areas required to speed up growth and the transformation of the economy to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods.

The Department of Science and Technology aims to promote the development of science and technology through the enabling mechanism of the National System of Innovation (NSI). It strives towards introducing measures that put science and technology to work to make an impact on growth and development in a sustainable manner, in areas that matter to all the people of South Africa.

South African Medical Research Council
South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC): The scope of the SAMRC’s research includes basic laboratory investigations, clinical research, and public health studies. Research at the SAMRC focuses on the top 10 causes of death in South Africa.  To assist with delivering on this vital mandate, the organization is led by the National Department of Health, and works with other key stakeholders such as the Department of Science and Technology, South African and international science councils, medical schools, universities, research institutions and international collaborators. For further information, please visit


Shelley des Etages-Wong
Associate Partner
Panarea Partners Inc
Tel: +1 (860) 984 3383
Glaudina Loots
Director: Health Technology
Department of Science and Technology
Tel: +27 82 330 1363
Alfred Thutloa
Head of Corporate Communications
South African Medical Research Council
Tel: +27 74 885 7649
Release date: 
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 10:07