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Sibongile Gumbi

[email protected]


Organisation background

Smart Biotech is a bio-pharmaceutical company involved in the manufacture of antigens and monoclonal antibodies used in the production of vaccines and diagnostics. The company is concerned with protein production using plant-based expression systems. These process innovations enable Smart Biotech to produce safe, high-quality and cost-effective biologics for the African and global markets.

Why we entered the Competition

As a product development company located in Africa, Smart Biotech’s interest is in the development of animal health innovations that will promote sustainable livestock systems on the continent and in other developing regions of the world. Our mission is to enhance the availability, affordability and accessibility of quality biopharmaceuticals for the prevention and treatment of animal disease conditions that have significant socio-economic impact in the developing world. As a company, we felt that the Competition is aligned with our principals.

The project team

Smart Biotech was founded by Dr Sibongile Gumbi. Dr Gumbi has a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Cape Town and an EMBA from IMD, Switzerland. As CEO of Smart Biotech, she is focused on the business development and investment aspects of the company.

The scientific team is led by Dr Daria Rutkowska who obtained a PhD degree in Genetics from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She is currently a senior scientist in the Biosciences unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria and works on a number of vaccine-related research projects.

Our technical approach

Our goal is to develop a safe and effective second-generation vaccine against Brucellosis in sheep. We have elected to use a virus-like particle-based delivery platform to present selected Brucella epitopes to the immune system and consequently elicit a protective immune response against Brucellosis melitensis. The chimeric particles are produced using a plant-based transient expression system. Due to a lack of genome these chimeric particles would also enable differentiation between infected and vaccinated animals and would be very useful in disease control programmes.

Additional information

We are interested to collaborate with companies on the ongoing development of our vaccine and it's future registration and commercialisation.