An Emerging Force in Africa’s Biotechnology Industry

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As the world continues to evolve and move faster, certain women are head bent on making an indelible impact before they retire and exit the scene. An example is the 30-year old Dineo Lioma, Co-founder of three innovative companies in the biotechnology sphere; Incitech, CapeBio Technologies and Deep Medical Therapeutics.

Lioma realized very early the power of science to change the world, so she decided that after studies, she would return to her homeland, South Africa and contribute to the global biotechnology industry.

She graduated with distinctions from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and holds MPhil degree in microtechnology and nanotechnology. Lioma also has a BSc degree in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, which she passed with 24 distinctions, at the University of the Witwatersrand.

She founded Deep Medical Therapeutics in cooperation with IBM, after she returned to South Africa. The company leverages on the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide solutions that assist medical practitioners in making more informed and accurate therapy recommendations in resource-limited settings.

The company aims to speed up the process of dangerous disease treatment by building a system that detects a timely point of care and appropriate medication for a body type, using AI.

In other words, they use AI to make decisions on how to treat drug-resistant diseases such as Tuberculosis, based on the patient’s genetic profile.

Her second company CapeBio Technologies is a subsidiary from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research focused on manufacturing and distributing laboratory reagent enzymes used in molecular biology research.

As a matter of fact, the enzymes are sourced from biodiversity hotspots, particularly the Western Cape, making CapeBio Technologies the first local manufacturer and distributor of these enzymes in the country.

The product has been tested by over 300 researchers at universities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Nigeria.

Still, on her pursuit for a better Africa, Lioma co-founded Incitech in 2014. It is a medical diagnostics company developing a rapid HIV diagnostic device to improve testing outcomes.

In the wake of COVID-19 in the continent, when South Africa hit 111,796 confirmed cases, Lioma and her partner dived into developing a test kit that provides results in a little over an hour. Usually, a test takes about three hours to produce results, but this test kit was built to deliver results in 65 minutes. The development aimed to reduce the need for imports and allow for a faster testing process among the population. With the help of the kit, pathologists can isolate and identify a virus’ DNA or genetic material from an infected person, stimulating accurate detection within a laboratory. 

Lioma is not just a young African trying to rise above the economy odds; rather she is in pursuit of a contributing her quota to transforming Africa into a world-class economy and key player in the advancement of science and the creation of wealth.

On this note, she serves as the Vice President of the Ventures portfolio for the Association of Allan Gray Fellows; an NPO focused on developing entrepreneurs to improve socio-economic challenges in Africa.

She has been recognized and awards on various platforms including Forbes Africa’s Top 20 Wealth Creators and Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans list.

In efforts to highlight the giant strides of women from Africa and developing nations, Amazons Watch Magazine celebrates the commitments of Dineo Lioma in Africa.

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