PM in Africa: Cipla announces biotech manufacturing facility in South Africa
In what seems to be a well timed announcement along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, India’s leading pharma company Cipla has announced that “proposed biotech subsidiary in South Africa will invest over 1.3 billion rand into the country’s first state-of-the-art biotech manufacturing facility, for the production of biosimilars.”
A senior official of the company, referring to the company’s strong links with the region, said that about 11 per cent of the company’s revenues come from the region and the new investment will build on this and be the second biotech manufacturing site for Cipla BioTec; the first one is in Goa.
Cipla is a leading pharma player in South Africa and analysts feel the investment will not only expand its footprint in the region but will also give it cost advantages and an ability to ramp up volumes by local manufacturing. Cipla owns Cipla Medpro, South Africa’s third largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, as well as Cipla BioTec, a biotechnology company focused on affordable and accessible biopharmaceuticals.
The company’s media release quoting Steven Lehrer, director of Cipla BioTec, says: “Biosimilars are important to enable access to advanced cancer and autoimmune treatments. These treatments are only used by about 8 per cent of patients who should be treated worldwide mainly due to high costs of these drugs… Cipla BioTec aspires to transform the biosimilars market worldwide, by significantly increasing access with its strategy of one global product standard at affordable pricing.”
“Cipla BioTec’s unique manufacturing strategy is leveraged from its in house proprietary manufacturing software and single use technology,” Lehrer said.
The factory, located in Durban, will manufacture biosimilar drugs made from living organisms and used in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Construction is scheduled to start in early 2017, with full operations expected to commence in the third quarter of 2018. At full capacity, the facility is expected to create up to 300 jobs primarily in the engineering and biological science fields.
“It marks the entrance of Cipla subsidiary, Cipla BioTec, into South Africa and will be run independently of the pharmaceutical’s existing manufacturing division, Cipla Medpro Manufacturing (CMM).” Subhanu Saxena, MD & Global CEO, Cipla, said in the press release.
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