In October 2021, the H3D Foundation sponsored an in-person 2-day “Introduction to Drug Discovery” Workshop in Cape Town, hosting 23 participants from across South Africa.


Prof Kelly Chibale, Chairman and CEO of the H3D Foundation, shared wisdom from his personal journey into Drug Discovery.

“If you have a vision to do something, you have to stick to that vision that you received,” he said. “When I made up my mind about what I wanted to do, I refused to look to the left or the right. That consistency is so important – you have got to be convinced.”

The workshop included a guest lecture by Dr Miquel Duran-Frigola, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Ersilia, on machine learning tools to support drug discovery projects. Ersilia is working with the H3D Centre and the H3D Foundation on machine learning/artificial intelligence drug discovery capacity building projects. The workshop included presentations by a number of H3D Staff: Dr John Woodland, chemical biologist Ms Jessika Akester, senior research scientist, Dr Susan Winks, Dr Liezl Gibhard and Dr Mathew Njoroge, Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (PK) investigators.

“There are currently no drug discovery courses in South Africa”, says Dr Susan Winks, workshop organizer and co-Founding Director of H3D Foundation “but we are growing the drug discovery community locally and across the region – there is therefore a need for these types of courses and workshops accessible to post graduate students and researchers of all levels from various disciplines across the health innovation value chain.” The H3D Foundation is filling that gap with practical workshops that enable a deeper understanding of integrated drug discovery through coupling breakaway groups with lectures on theory and case studies.


Participants provided positive feedback about practical examples and group discussions aiding in their understanding of various drug discovery topics, including decision-making tools for compound prioritization and screening cascade development.

The article was written by Ms Alacia Armstrong on behalf of the H3D Foundation.