Nonprofit organisation The African Innovation Foundation (AIF), which mobilises innovators across Africa, has named biotechnology research and development company Altis Biologics CEO Dr Nicolaas Duneas and business development CE Nuno Peres, of South Africa, the winners of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2014 for their Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix (Altis OBM).
Before the Altis OBM was invented, patients with serious bone trauma or degradation would have to endure the removal of bone tissue from their own hips, or from deceased donors, in the hope of undergoing successful bone grafting surgery – both very invasive methods.
The injection of OBM leads to the rapid, safe and effective healing of problematic bone injuries, leading to the complete and natural restoration of the bone, including the bone marrow.
OBM is the only bone-grafting substitute containing naturally extracted bone growth proteins that cooperate with high efficacy and are sourced from mammals, making it cost effective to produce.
The device is the first injectable porcine- derived bone morphogenetic protein medical device in the world, and was selected from about 700 applications from 42 countries.
The announcement was made by Nigeria’s Finance and Coordinating Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala when he delivered the keynote speech at the 2014 IPA Awards Ceremony in Abuja, Nigeria.
Duneas and Peres will receive $100 000 for the Altis OBM.
“This year’s IPA winners showcase that Africans can find solutions to African challenges,” says AIF and IPA founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais.
“We encourage partners from both the public and the private sectors to coherently work together to support African innovation to the next level,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Peres notes that they are delighted by this recognition, adding that the team has managed the development of Altis OBM over the past ten years, from the initial idea to commercialisation.
“We hoped that the innovation would rad- ically change the way orthopaedic surgeons treat bones injuries. Winning the IPA gets us closer to that goal,” he adds.
According to nonprofit organisation the National Osteoporosis Foundation of South Africa, osteoporosis is on the rise in Africa, particularly among African women, owing to urbanisation and a general lack of awareness.
Figure-conscious females keep an increasingly watchful eye on their weight, impacting negatively on the density of their bones and increasing the risk of contracting bone dis- eases, says Peres.