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SA born billionaire, Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, to transfer tech for the next big thing in health for Africa

Published Sep 24, 2021


DR PATRICK Soon-Shiong, a billionaire doctor and scientist who was born in Gqeberha (formerly known as Port Elizabeth) and graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand, is leading an initiative to build capacity for advanced health care in Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was a guest of honour yesterday, at an announcement event by Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder of the multinational conglomerate, NantWorks LLC, of an initiative ambitious to build capacity for advanced health care in Africa.

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The initiative will entail collaboration among NantAfrica, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (Ceri), and the universities of Cape Town, Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch and KwaZulu-Natal.

His company has designed a vaccine that seeks to protect people from infection caused by variants of the coronavirus, now and in the future. NantWorks is a multinational, California-based conglomerate that is leading the digital revolution in health care, technology and media through the harnessing of science, digital infrastructure, supercomputing and communication.

NantWorks LLC has signed a collaboration agreement with the CSIR and the SAMRC that will initiate the transfer of biologic manufacturing technology for Covid-19 and cancer vaccines and next-generation cell-based immuno-therapies.

This will enable the rapid clinical development of next generation vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer at centres of excellence across the country.

His ImmunityBio Inc company is conducting trials of its Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa and has held talks with Cape Town’s Biovac Institute to potentially set up vaccine production facilities in the country.

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