Double commendation for MMV ESAC member

Prof. Kelly Chibale has received two awards for his outstanding contributions to scientific research in South Africa for South Africans

15 Mar 2012

The Alan Pifer Research Award given today to Prof. Kelly Chibale of University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, is the University’s annual award in recognition of “outstanding research that demonstrates relevance to the advancement and welfare of South Africa’s disadvantaged people”. Kelly received this award specifically for his work to discover new medicines to treat malaria and tuberculosis – two deadly diseases that debilitate the poorest of the poor in South Africa.

The second commendation came in the form of the 2010/11 National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)-BHP Billiton Award in the category; TW Kambule NRF Senior Black Researcher. This was awarded to Kelly in May 2011 in Johannesburg in recognition of his work to establish cutting-edge technology platforms for drug discovery and Africa’s first integrated modern drug discovery centre (H3-D).

Kelly and his team at H3-D have been working with MMV since 2009 on this award-winning research, specifically in search of new molecules with the potential to become next-generation antimalarials.

“The MMV/UCT project has single-handedly built infrastructure, technology platforms and expertise,” Kelly commented. “Thanks to MMV, all these resources and lessons learnt through our quest to solve malaria are rapidly being applied to other diseases in South Africa such as tuberculosis and cardiovascular disease.”

“I feel incredibly blessed to have received not one but two awards.” Kelly further commented. “I have many people to thank for their incredible support, not least my family, the MMV/UCT project team members and the University itself. I would also like to personally thank Tim Wells, Chief Scientific Officer at MMV, for his vision and support before we even started working with MMV. Through Tim's vision, MMV, UCT and the South African Technology Innovation Agency have pioneered a novel hits-to-lead model of success in antimalarial drug discovery in Africa.”

“It’s fitting that Kelly has been doubly commended for his pioneering drug discovery work,” said Tim Wells. “As for us, the MMV/UCT project meets not one but two goals: the discovery of new antimalarials and helping to build scientific capacity on the continent most affected by malaria.”