Africa Investment Forum fronts US$140M vaccines and healthcare projects

COTE D’IVOIRE – Members of the Africa Investment Forum have fronted two projects focused on improving the continents healthcare to potential investors as the continent looks to boost its healthcare sector and attract much-needed investment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The projects, jointly worth around US$140 million and located in East and West Africa, were previewed for potential investors. The first opportunity, with a project cost of $96 million, is for the development of a 250-bed specialist hospital offering world-class healthcare services in a West African country. Feasibility…

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Acino Health acquires US$121.5M select prescription drugs from Aspen Pharmacare

SOUTH AFRICA – Drug maker Aspen Pharmacare has sold six prescription medicines used for the treatment of gastroenterology, erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular diseases to Swiss pharmaceutical company Acino Healthcare Group for US$ 121.5 million (R1.8 billion). Chief Executive at Acino Stephen Saad, said the transaction formed part of the group’s communicated strategy to refine its product portfolio in South Africa. “The acquisition of these trusted brands in South Africa represents excellent scaling and commercial opportunities for Acino as it expands its footprint in South Africa by adding these products to…

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Moderna narrows down on locations for planned Africa based vaccine plant

AFRICA – Moderna, global Covid-19 vaccine giant, has announced that it is considering Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa as potential ground for its intended vaccine factory in Africa. Moderna said last week it would build a plant in Africa to produce up to 500 million doses of vaccines a year, including its COVID-19 shot, as pressure grows on pharmaceutical companies to manufacture drugs in lower-income countries. Health experts have said Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa could be candidates because they either have existing vaccine expertise and production, or have expressed…

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Nigeria’s pharma market battling recession despite being the continental manufacturing hub

NIGERIA – Nigeria, the country which hosts 60 percent of the pharmaceutical production capacity in Africa, is reported to experience a recess in growth, with the market currently estimated at US$1.5 billion to US$2.5 billion. The African pharmaceutical market is projected to grow between US$60 billion to US$70 billion after COVID-19, this is according to researchers under the Pharmaceutical Subsector Thematic Group of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Research and Development Standing Committee, RDSC. Lead Presenter of the group and Director General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research…

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Moderna throws its weight behind Africa’s pharma manufacturing with US$500M plant

AFRICA – Moderna has made known its intentions to put up a messenger RNA manufacturing plant in Africa to produce its Covid-19 vaccine and other jabs as the pharmaceutical industry fends off criticism it has not done enough to immunize the developing world. The company said it would spend up to US$500m to build a state-of-the-art facility in the continent within two to four years with the goal of eventually producing up to 500 million doses of vaccine each year. However, Moderna’s plans appeared to be at a relatively early…

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Sanofi urged to handover abandoned m-RNA vaccines to SA’s tech transfer hub

SOUTH AFRICA – Following news that French pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi will abandon its promising mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has urged the corporation to transfer the technology and know-how for the vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in South Africa. “It’s unconscionable for Sanofi to let a promising vaccine candidate gather dust on its shelves simply because it won’t be lucrative for them, when they have an opportunity to put this research to lifesaving use by transferring their know-how to…

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Siemens Healthineers invests US$ 32 million in Delaware facility expansion

USA – German medtech company Siemens Healthineers has announced that it will expend US$32 million in a bid to expand 29,000-square-foot facility based in Newark’s Glasgow Business Community hub. The company plans to use the money to install new manufacturing equipment, including large-scale specialties and formulation process equipment. Supporting the company’s plans, the state Council on Development Finance will provide it with two grants from the Delaware Strategic Fund totaling US$ 2 million. The company is one of Delaware county’s largest private employers and taxpayer. With1,300 employees on full-time basis,…

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IFPMA partners with the H3D Foundation to bolster drug manufacturing in Africa

SOUTH AFRICA – The H3D Foundation and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations have forged a three-year partnership aimed at bolstering drug development for the African continent. The partnership aims to strengthen drug discovery and development in Africa by scaling existing initiatives and identifying new development opportunities for young and mid-career scientists in the region. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted concerns over the state of disease control in Africa. According to H3D-F, a foundation established to reduce barriers for health innovation and actively support African researchers and…

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Africa urged to increase pharmaceutical manufacturing as cost of medical imports rises

AFRICA – African countries have been called upon to increase the production of medicines and medical equipment on the continent as they are spending large sums of money to import medicines and medical equipment, while populations on the continent continue to die from preventable diseases. “We are losing too many children to diseases due to lack of vaccines, which could be manufactured in Africa,” UN Under-Secretary-General and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe said at the Africa Investment Summit on Health (AIS) held on the sidelines of…

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Novartis pushes further into gene therapy for the eye with deal for Swiss startup

SWITZERLAND – Novartis has bought a second biotech startup developing gene therapies for the eye, Arctos Medical, a small Swiss company spun out of the University of Bern. Arctos, which previously received financial backing from Novartis’ venture fund, specializes in optogenetics, a field of research which uses light to probe the behavior of neurons. Drawing on this science, Arctos is attempting to transform other types of retinal cells into photoreceptor-like cells by delivering a gene that encodes for a light-sensitive protein. Arctos, and now Novartis, envision this technology could be…

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