Developing a strategy for a centre of competence for HIV research and development in South Africa
Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.
The government has identified the need to transform the South African economy from one that is primarily resource based to one that is knowledge-based and has formulated a 10 year plan in order to accomplish this objective. The plan involves the creation and funding of five theme-specific consortium-based centres of competence that focus on the five top national health priorities, linked to the growth of the local pharmaceutical industry. This research study proposed that if collaboration and communication between academic researchers and the biotechnology industry in South Africa was improved it would lead to an increase in the development of innovative products for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The objective of the study was the development of a strategy for a centre of competence for HIV research and development that brings together academic researchers and industry in a public private partnership and that will enable the proposal to be tested. Centre of competence programmes in both developed and developing countries, including Sweden, Austria and Estonia, were reviewed. The success factors for the various programmes were discussed. The strategic planning analysis began by considering the mandate of the CoC for HIV R&D. The requirements and expectations of the DST in establishment of the centres of competence were examined. An analysis of the external environment relevant to the South African biotechnology industry was then performed. This involved a detailed macro-environmental analysis in which political, economic, social, technological and environmental factors were considered. It was followed by an analysis of the current biotechnology industry in South Africa. The industry’s dominant economic features were identified as were its future driving forces. In a competitive environment analysis the South African biotechnology industry was found to be extremely competitive. Two industry issues, price controls and access to capital, were identified and discussed. The industry key success factors identified included access to large and sustained capital, attracting and retaining talented employees, an efficient and high quality regulatory authority, continued government support, productive and appropriate partnerships and skilled intellectual property management. An internal environment analysis was performed which identified competencies and resource strengths of the CoC for HIV R&D, including the high level of academic research in the HIV/AIDS field and expertise in clinical trials of HIV/AIDS products. Competitive deficiencies and resource weaknesses identified included shortages of skills and talent and the lack of co-ordination for funding of HIV/AIDS research. The analysis of the internal environment continued with the examination of the internal value chain of the CoC for HIV R&D. This consisted of discovery, pre-clinical development and clinical development stages. Gaps in the value chain were identified, including the lack of facilities for high-throughput screening of compounds for anti-HIV activity, lack of pre-clinical testing facilities and lack of manufacturing plants capable of producing products for use in clinical trials. The results of the external and internal environment analysis were used in a SWOC analysis and a number of strategies were identified to capitalise on opportunities and to address challenges. A subsequent competitive strength assessment identified a competitive advantage in the formation of the CoC for HIV R&D. In addition a number of strategic issues facing the centre were identified and ways to address or manage the issues were proposed. The strategic planning process was completed by the selection of a strategic approach for the CoC for HIV R&D. The study concluded that a PPP of public and private organisations operating under a corporate strategy of related diversification developed and implemented by the CoC for HIV R&D, would be suitable for testing the Proposal. The study’s conclusion also highlighted the need to ensure that the CoC for HIV R&D receives a long term commitment of funding from public sources, and that is managed by an experienced team with strong leadership skills. Important strategies emerging from the study and specifically from the SWOC analysis were development of a national HIV research plan and funding of the highest priority projects; focusing research funding on research with greatest potential for generation of HIV/AIDS products; and establishment of new technology platforms to fill gaps in the value chain. Finally, a number of recommendations were made for implementation of the results of this study or as the basis for further study.