The African Innovation Laboratory Network called iLEAD (Innovation: Laboratory Engineered Accelerated Diagnostics) is a network comprised of three collaborating centers in South Africa, Senegal and Mozambique. The program is driven by experienced investigators; Professor Wendy Stevens in South Africa as the Principal Investigator and Professor Souleymane Mboup in Senegal and Dr Ilesh Jani in Mozambique as co-Principal Investigators. Together with numerous Global Partners, they realise the enormous role of laboratory diagnostics in patient care and the difficulty of delivering these at scale in an appropriate and affordable manner in clinically relevant timeframes.

iLEAD harnesses the collaboration of skilled partners with a deep understanding of end-user needs and has core elements of support working towards the strength of the centers in South Africa, Senegal and Mozambique. These elements include testing laboratory platforms, patient enrollment and clinical trial management platforms, research and development, statistics, health economics, modelling and business intelligence as well as a variety of connectivity platforms.

At the heart of iLEAD will be the ongoing development and review of its Innovation Pipeline around five focal areas (patient, specimen, transport of specimens, central laboratory testing and system-wide connectivity). This will be a structured system with several processes designed to channel ideas and technologies for entry into the pipeline and then to manage them through four phases of development from “Concept & Design” (Phase 0) all the way through to “Clinical Validation for Launch readiness” (Phase 3). The pipeline is structured to drive efficient use of resources (time, human resource and money) and to accelerate innovations to real-world impact. At the end of each phase, projects either pass through the inclusion gates (defined by approval criteria and milestones) or exit the pipeline. To ensure sustainability of innovations produced or supported by the pipeline, commercial partners and suitable business models are designed and developed as part of the pipeline process ensuring integration of innovations into existing market and health systems for maximum impact.