The South African biotech ecosystem is set to benefit from a newly signed partnership between The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) and the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR). The union gives rise to a Pan African biotech incubator under the guidance of Michael Fichardt and Dr. Nick Walker.
The announcement was released by CiTi this week and aims to provide “life science start-ups with funding, business support, lab facilities and office space; access to networks; mentorship; and connections to resources, international markets and large corporate partners, both in Africa and internationally.” The incubator will have the capacity to host ten start-ups but will focus on taking in two start-ups annually – one every six months.
According to CiTi management, OneBio is only set to be unveiled late in 2018 without a fixed launch date set for the incubator. Together with wide-ranging skillsets in private equity, banking and venture building, as well as an extensive base of scientific research to call upon, from the Singularity University’s, esteemed, Global Solutions Program, Nick Fichardt and Dr. Walker is in good stead to lead the OneBio incubator.
CEO and Co-Founder, Fichardt referenced the software boom in the 1980’s when speaking about the potential growth of the biotech industry. In a press release, Fichardt noted that “biology as technology is at a similar inflection point as the software industry was in the mid-1980s, poised for staggering growth. Biological tools and techniques continue to improve at exponential rates and investors are beginning to understand the incredible potential of the tech. ONEBIO will provide a platform for African biotech entrepreneurs to be part of this next global wave of innovation.”
The incubator is set to provide a foundation for start-ups in their infancy stage as well as serve as a platform to accelerate growth for start-ups exhibiting fast growth. Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi states that while they have a focus on the South African ecosystem, their ambitions are to reach the far corners of the continent and beyond. “We have such an enormous opportunity to use technology for good, in Africa. At CiTi we believe that biotech is the next frontier where exponential tech-enabled innovation can unlock affordable solutions to Africa’s health challenges. In addition to this, the convergence of OneBio with CiTI’s data cluster and the capability of the Explore Data Science Academy provides a unique and possibly magic recipe for world-class success,” Merrington said in a statement.
This partnership sees Africa’s oldest technology incubator crucial to the foundations of the African start-up ecosystem partner with one of South Africa’s leading innovative, research and biotechnological projects.
In conjunction with partnerships like Cameroon’s Songhai Labs AI venture with Project Datareach reported by WeeTracker the trajectory for the biotech ecosystem in Africa looks promising.