CPGR Blog

Can Genomics invigorate medical innovation on the African continent?

Yes! If a set of other components is in place to make a complex innovation equation work… Introduction Genomics holds great promises for drug development through the identification of new drug targets, better understanding of disease mechanism, and the elucidation of drug action (Emilien, 2000). The most likely impact in the short term is through the discipline’s [...]

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Can Genomics contribute to South Africa’s GDP? – A thought experiment with crude numbers…

My short answer to this is, yes, but the real value of Genomics goes beyond an economic return and cannot be captured easily in dollars and cents! Background According to US-based non-profit research organisation Battelle, the Human Genome Project (HGP) contributed USD 1 Trillion to the US economy between 1998 and 2012 [1]. The report claims [...]

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Highly concentrated scientific productivity and its impact on Africa

A recent paper in PLoS one [1] suggests that less than 1% of the globally active scientific community accounts for about 42% of all research output (measure = scientific publications; observation period = 1996-2011). If only high-impact papers are considered, a core group of scientists accounts for 87% of all publications. Through mining of appropriate data, [...]

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A snapshot of global trends, challenges and drivers of success in Research & Development (R&D)

A recent publication by Battelle provides a global overview and forecast of R&D spending as well as related challenges and drivers of success. What follows is a summary of key messages (text and figures), extracted from the Battelle report (2014 Global R&D Funding Forecast): The world share of R&D spend doesn’t change significantly within a 3-year observation [...]

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CPGR NGS platform launch

In May 2014, the CPGR will boost its Genomics offering with the addition of four high-end next-generation sequencing instruments. The organisation’s enhanced capacity will comprise of 1 MiSeq (Illumina), 2 Ion Torrent PGMs (Life Technologies) and 1 Ion Proton (Life Technologies). We will employ a blend of sequencing technologies to offer the best possible support [...]

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What indicators should we use to predict success of R&D in pharma & life science organisations?

A recent opinion piece in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (NRDD) investigates indicators of R&D (research & development) productivity (as measured by project success rate or Return on Investment, ROI) in pharmaceutical organisations. The findings presented in the paper have relevance for life science organisations with R&D focus as a whole. As a basis for the study, the [...]

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How industry dynamics force CROs to innovate and create opportunities for building biotech capacity in Africa

Overview While optimists have labelled the early 2000s as the dawn of the ‘Biomedical Century’ (1), a little more than 10 years into it many are bearish when thinking about the sector’s prospects. Among other factors, this viewpoint is guided by the declining R&D productivity in the pharmaceutical industry (as measured in number of approved [...]

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Considerations regarding a viable technology platform model

In many countries, developed and emerging, research infrastructure (RI) is considered either an entitlement by the academic elite or an expense by those holding the purse strings. In my mind, it is neither! Rather, it is an investment made in service of a particular purpose, and meant to yield returns for a variety of concerned [...]

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A compact for biomarker development in South Africa

Recently, the CPGR joined The Biomarkers Consortium. The ‘Biomarkers Consortium’, or ‘Consortium’, is a public-private scientific partnership between the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), members of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics, and medical device [...]

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Is digital and online learning disrupting traditional (higher) education?

A series of articles appearing on the websites of the Economist (1) and Nature (2, 3) point to the radical shifts in (higher) education brought about by advancements made in digital and online learning. It’s good to see the inklings of disruptive innovation in the making, challenging the status quo of many an ivory tower. [...]

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