Start main page content

Professor Yahya Choonara receives the 2022 FIP Distinguished Pharmaceutical Science Award!


Congratulations to Professor Yahya Choonara, who recently received a leading international accolade recognizing his outstanding research and significant contributions to the Pharmaceutical Sciences globally.

The Bureau of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) selected Prof. Choonara for the 2022 FIP Distinguished Pharmaceutical Science Award conferred at the 80th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences held recently in Seville, Spain. The FIP represents over 4 million Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists around the world.

As an advocate of pharmaceutical innovation, Prof. Choonara’s persistent leadership in the Pharmaceutical Sciences on the continent is making an impact on global health and at the forefront of producing advanced life-saving 21st-century medicines for infectious, hereditary and lifestyle diseases.

He leads the Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform (WADDP) Research Unit, a flagship unit of the University and Africa’s first, largest and only entity in the domain contributing to the design of novel targeted drug (and/or bioactive) delivery systems, nanomedicine, functional biomaterials and regenerative medicines. Drug delivery science is the method and process of formulating a newly discovered (or existing) drug (or bioactive) to achieve a better therapeutic effect in the human body (i.e. improved bioavailability).

The development of brand-new drug molecules that form part of sophisticated Drug Discovery programs is relatively expensive, time-consuming and comes with a very high risk of failure, especially for LMICs. Hence, improving the safety-to-efficacy ratio of promising new/existing drugs by using novel methods of drug delivery can enhance, individualize and revolutionize drug therapy. This is where innovations at the WADDP are changing conformist thinking and are pursued vigorously by Prof. Choonara’s scientific team leading to many breakthroughs.

As a Personal Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, a Tier 1 South African National Research Foundation Chair in “Pharmaceutical Biomaterials and Polymer-Engineered Drug Delivery Technologies” he holds the largest pharmaceutical product patent portfolio (43 in total) aimed at providing patient-centric drug therapies for unmet therapeutic needs including special populations. His inventions include a WaferMat (the world’s fastest dissolving matrix), a VagiTab, Nanomedicine and BioInspired NeuroTherapeutics.

He is also the first South African Pharmaceutical Scientist and Pharmacist to receive both, this FIP Award and the Department of Science and Innovation of South Africa Top Intellectual Property Creator Award, one of the country’s highest awards for distinguished contributions to innovation.

Prof Choonara is passionate about developing the next generation of Pharmaceutical Scientists for South Africa and the continent and has graduated >110 postgraduates and mentored >18 postdoctoral fellows from nine countries and currently mentors several emerging pharmaceutical scientists at various academic institutions in South Africa and on the continent pursuing a career in pharmaceutical product development (including nanomedicine).