Astrazeneca inks deal with Royal Academy of Engineering to support health tech entrepreneurs

SOUTH AFRICA – AstraZeneca and the Royal Academy of Engineering have entered into a partnership to establish connections between African healthcare innovators and AstraZeneca’s A Catalyst Network of more than 20 global health innovation hubs.

This partnership seeks to drive the development of engineering solutions that have the potential to address local challenges with a focus on health tech. 

As part of its commitment to building international partnerships and solving global challenges, in 2014 the Academy founded The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation (https://bit.ly/3Ah0FC8), an annual award that grants crucial commercialization support to ambitious innovators across sub-Saharan Africa.

By connecting Africa Prize entrepreneurs to A.Catalyst Network, as well as the AstraZeneca supply chain and wider ecosystem (including investors), the AstraZeneca-Academy partnership hopes to further strengthen the work of both organisations to nurture local talent and strengthen healthcare innovation and creativity on the African continent.

‘Our partnerships are crucial to delivering the breadth and depth of support we can offer, which in turn allows the programme to accelerate African entrepreneurial capacity, producing scalable, local solutions to global challenges,” Ana Avaliani, Director of Enterprise and Sustainable Development at Royal Academy of Engineering said.

AstraZeneca will join the Prize’s network of expert mentors, offering training support for Africa Prize entrepreneurs, giving them access to tailored expertise and experience to help them develop their projects. AstraZeneca will also take part in a webinar series for the Africa Prize alumni network and current cohort, sharing knowledge and insights on health tech and other subjects.

We want to offer entrepreneurs in emerging markets like Africa the same kind of platform and opportunities that their counterparts in other countries would benefit from,” Aleksandr Bedenkov, VP, Medical International at AstraZeneca said.

Going forward, AstraZeneca and the Academy will continue to collaboratively explore further partnership opportunities to support the healthcare system in the region and beyond.

Helathtech startups in Africa have in the recent past received a lot of recognition bringing with it hefty investments. For instance, last month, 54gene, a genomic startup in Africa, managed to secure over US$25 million in funding to help the company expand its capabilities in precision medicine.

Aside from 54gene, several other startups like DataPathology in Morocco, Sotech in Egypt, Aviro in South Africa have secured funds exceeding US$ 1.5 million to grow their business in the past month.

Opportunity for healtech in Africa is ever rising with investment superseding US$106.7 million in 2020, across 62 funding rounds, representing 12% of all disclosed investment rounds, according to data by Baobab.

Therefore, supporting healthtech entrepreneurs will not only improve Africa’s health sector but also improve the economic situation around the continent.

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