NAIROBI, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The Nairobi-based African Academy of Sciences (AAS) will partner with foundations and academic institutions to finance research and development of new drugs aimed at tackling the continent's high disease burden.
AAS said in a statement issued on Thursday that a partnership with University of Cape Town Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D), Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will stimulate research on new drugs to treat diseases endemic in Africa.
"This partnership will benefit Africa by developing the capacity and augmenting efforts to discover and develop drugs for diseases that are prevalent on the continent and are otherwise affected by a market bias that has seen drug discovery efforts on the continent hampered," said Tom Kariuki, the Director of Programs at Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) that is hosted by AAS.
Both AAS and partners will be offering up to 100,000 U.S. dollars for every project to be undertaken by African researchers to discover new drugs for treating malaria, tuberculosis and other neglected tropical diseases.
The grants will also support creation of a network of drug discovery and development scientists that is expected to stimulate sharing of knowledge and expertise.
AAS said the new funding will also be earmarked for strengthening the capacity of Africa's institutions to conduct research on new drugs and vaccines.
Applicants who secure the funding will be linked up with their peers across the globe for mentorship on how to carry out research leading to discovery of new and efficacious drugs.
"The attractive aspect of this program is that it focuses on highlighting and investing in those who are present on the continent," said Kelly Chibale, the Founder and Director of Drug Discovery and Development Centre at the University of Cape Town.
He said that partners will identify and fund talented African based scientists to research on potential cures for infectious diseases blighting the continent.
"This will result in an effective increase in the numbers of productive and contributing African drug discovery scientists as well as an increase in the quality and impact of drug discovery science generated in Africa by Africans," Chibale said.
Timothy wells, the Chief Scientific Officer at Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) hailed launch of funding incentives to stimulate research on drugs that could help eradicate killer diseases in Africa.
"At MMV, our focus is on bringing forward the next-generation of medicines to help defeat malaria. Through these grants, together with our partners, we aim to support the next-generation of African scientists to get involved in this endeavor for malaria as well as other diseases," said Wells.