AstraZeneca and the Royal Academy of Engineering have partnered to establish connections between African healthcare innovators and AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network of more than 20 global health innovation hubs.
The joint venture 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, an annual award that grants crucial commercialisation support to ambitious innovators across sub-Saharan Africa. To date, over 100 innovators are part of the Africa Prize alumni network. AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network brings together digital, R&D and commercial resources to reimagine the future of healthcare, working with partners to co-create solutions and establish integrated and strong health systems that benefit the whole patient experience. 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.
As part of the collaboration, 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.
Aleksandr Bedenkov, VP, Medical International at AstraZeneca said: ‘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. A.Catalyst Network offers exciting opportunities for health tech entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate with a truly global network of expertise and experience, helping to accelerate innovation and ensure that more patients can get access to the latest health tech solutions.’
Barbara Nel, Country President, African Cluster at AstraZeneca, said: ‘This partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering is integral to our unwavering commitment to improve health access and create sustainable impact in Africa. We recognise that breakthrough science and healthcare don’t happen in isolation; they are the result of collaboration and partnerships to strengthen healthcare innovation and creativity. We are looking forward to supporting our Africa Prize entrepreneurs in developing their innovative projects and working together to seek answers to our health challenges for the benefit of all patients in Africa.’
Ana Avaliani, Director of Enterprise and Sustainable Development at Royal Academy of Engineering said: ‘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. We believe that while one innovator can change a community, a network can transform a continent, and the Africa Prize network truly represents the brightest minds tackling the greatest challenges. We are looking forward to working with AstraZeneca to amplify the impact of our innovators in harnessing the power of engineering and building a sustainable society and inclusive economy that works for everyone.’
Going forward, AstraZeneca and the Academy will continue to collaboratively explore further partnership opportunities to support the healthcare system in the region and beyond.