H3D Holistic Drug Discovery and Development Centre, University of Cape Town and H3D-Foundation

H3D’s core business is discovering novel medicines for diseases that predominantly affect African populations, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and antibiotic-resistant microbial diseases. A critical stakeholder in the South Africa Bioeconomy, H3D also focuses on the development of drug discovery technology and the training of young scientists.
Academia or research institute 20
Government 4
Private Foundation or Development Organization 2
Life Sciences 1
Product Development Partnerships 1
Global NGOs 2

The H3D Centre aims to:

  • Discover and develop innovative, life-saving medicines for infectious diseases
  • Build Africa-specific models to contribute to improving treatment outcomes in African patients
  • Develop drug discovery platform technologies
  • Train African scientists in drug discovery-related sciences

The H3D Foundation was established to complement the work of the H3D Drug Discovery and Development Centre, specifically in relation to capacity development that enables and unlocks the potential for sustainable drug discovery and development activities across Africa.

Partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

H3D is the first and only centre of its kind on the African continent. It is a place where African scientists can utilize their scientific skills and education to improve the health of African patients and to educate the next generation of African pharmaceutical scientists.

H3D is uniquely positioned to seed the establishment of an innovative pharmaceutical industry in Africa. One of the key strengths of the Centre is its neutral positioning, which allows for strong partnerships with governments, philanthropies, industry, and academic partners, forming a bridge between academic and translational science.

H3D has four drug discovery portfolios (malaria, TB, AMR, and COVID-19) that are largely funded through research grants with a programmatic focus. H3D relies on an extensive international network of partners and collaborators to bring in relevant expertise and capacities to assist with sustaining the portfolio pipelines and delivering preclinical candidates. Product development and industry partners are particularly positioned to take any preclinical candidates emerging from the Centre through development.

"Our partnership with IFPMA members represents exactly the kind of commitment required to achieve the next breakthroughs and deliver new medicines to millions of people threatened by infectious diseases. These partnerships augment the support already provided by the South African Government’s Department of Science & Innovation and Technology Innovation Agency to build drug discovery and development capabilities on the African continent.”
Prof Kelly Chibale
Founder and Director of H3D
Results and milestones

The H3D Centre has an infectious disease drug discovery portfolio with ~20 active projects and a global network with >30 active research partners. To date, the Centre has progressed 5 programs to selection phase and delivered 2 preclinical candidates.

* Celgene is a former member of this initiative.

Geographic Reach
Disease Area
  • Infectious and Parasitic Disease
See Disease Areas
SGDs the partnership contributes to
SDG 3: Good health and well-being
  1. 3.3: Communicable diseases and NTDs
  2. 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage
  3. 3.C: Health workforce
SDG 9: Industry innovation and infrastructure
SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals 
Partner organizations
Academia or research institute

King's College London

University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Public Health

H3D Holistic Drug Discovery and Development Centre

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Colorado State University

Leeds University

Broad Institute

Rhodes University

Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI)

University of Limpopo

Northeastern University

University of Plymouth

Sapienza University of Rome

University of Venda

South African Medical Research Council

South African National Research Foundation

Texas A&M University

University of Cape Town

University of Pretoria

University of São Paulo


Newton Fund (UKRI)

South African Technology Innovation Agency

South African Department of Science and Technology

US National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Private Foundation or Development Organization

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

H3D Foundation

Life Sciences

Lead Molecular Design

Product Development Partnerships

Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)

Global NGOs

BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH)

Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance)