An entrepreneurial journey to commercialise academic innovation in Southern Africa
David Jarvis from Liselo Labs will present the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology seminar with a talk entitled, "An entrepreneurial journey to commercialise academic innovation in Southern Africa".
Liselo’s journey of entrepreneurial driven innovation, partnership and collaboration has served as a humbling lesson to it’s co-founders, about the chasm between the developed and developing world innovation ecosystem for academia. From Harvard University collaborations which serve as an inspirational lesson on how to marry academia with commercialization innovation, to rural Lesotho, where Liselo operates a lab 50km away from the closest electricity grid. The lessons learnt inspire us to build broad collaborations to leverage unique advantages of diverse researchers across the globe.
David graduated from UCT in 1994, with a BSc (Hons) in Microbiology. While at UCT, David started a telecommunications company, UniNet, which went on to build next generation networks in partnership with governments and other telco’s in Southern Africa, to international acclaim. David presented at international conferences on the work at UniNet, including at the UN, on the use of disruptive technologies for development. In 2010, he co-founded Liselo Labs, built on some of the immunotherapy ideas first established during his time at UCT.
David is directly involved in the following companies: Bengo Systems Angola (mobile app development), Liselo Labs in South Africa and Lesotho (immunotherapeutic drug development and diagnostics kits), and Bengo Labs Inc., in Boston Massachusetts (nanotechnology).
Liselo Labs has been working on a number of immunotherapeutic strategies, as well as a range of field diagnostic kits. Liselo collaborates with leading academic and research institutions around the world, which assist the lab to access a broad range of innovations for commercialization. Work has been done on snake antivenoms and diagnostics, various zoonotic arboviral immunotherapies and rapid field test kits, and epidemiological tools for a few maize arthropod pests of economic importance in Africa. One Health is a major focus area for the lab, where the convergence of smartphone based information technology, nanotechnology, cognitive science and biotechnology has enabled innovative new approaches to surveillance and reporting of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases.