Cipla, the Indian pharmaceutical has inked an agreement with Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone, a business entity of KwaZulu-Natal, to set up its first biosimilars manufacturing facility in South Africa. The first biotech manufacturing unit for the production of biosimilars is set to produce a range of affordable treatments for cancer and other autoimmune diseases for the African and global market.
The MOU was signed at a meeting held at Cipla’s offices in Goa which was attended by Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa; Sihle Zikalala, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development; Divian Govender, CEO, Cipla Biotech, South Africa.
“The Cipla Biologic investment is a Top 10 priority project of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Investment chaired by President Jacob Zuma and is strategic for a number of reasons,” Davies said.
Further adding he said, “It resonates well with our industrial policy and puts South Africa at the cutting edge of innovation, moving up the value chain to advanced manufacturing and a knowledge-based economy. It has socio-economic benefits and strengthens our partnership with India and BRICS of developing countries providing affordable healthcare.
“As the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, we welcome this investment with open arms, as the technological level of this investment has the potential to impact on a number of economic and social facets of our society, well beyond the sizable investment amount of Rs 1.3 billion ($90.76 million) in the new manufacturing facility and the 180 permanent jobs that it will create,” Zikalala said.
“The investment represents the introduction of an entirely new technology into the South African economy, which will have a wide reaching impact especially the elevation of the research and development done in our tertiary education institutions,” Zikalala added.
Steve Lehrer, Director and Head of Cipla Biotech believes that project will reduce the costs of medicine. “We believe that a ground-breaking medicine is meaningless if barriers like cost and availability keep it from the patients who need it most,” Lehrer added.
The construction of the new facility is scheduled to start early next year, with full operations expected to commence in the third quarter of 2018.