Cipla to set up Rs.1.3-bn biotech plant in SA

Cipla to set up Rs.1.3-bn biotech plant in SA

With this unit, 300 jobs will be created in engineering and biological science fields.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Cipla BioTec, the research and development subsidiary of Cipla, will invest around Rs.1.3 billion to set up state-of-the-art manufacturing plant for the production of biosimilars in South Africa. The global pharmaceutical firm owns the third largest pharma company in South Africa - Cipla Medpro.

Subhanu Saxena, MD and Global CEO of Cipla Ltd said that the investment will facilitate to create the first bio-cluster in Africa. A state-of-the-art manufacturing base in South Africa will provide new opportunities for the partners in supply chain. This will further allow high level research efforts to sustain in South Africa.

The biotech manufacturing unit will attract research from global institutions. This facility will have all the required design capabilities. It will seek regulatory approvals to cater to the needs of domestic market and also to export to the countries of Africa and Europe, Saxena said.

The investment of Rs.1.3 billion is a continuation to a series of funding from Cipla in South Africa. The company has launched Cipla Distribution Gateway, a new distribution centre in 2015, with an investment of Rs.185 million in the same country. Recently, it has also upgraded the existing manufacturing unit in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) with an investment of Rs.400 million, Cipla Medpro CEO Paul Miller informed.

According to Cipla BioTec Director Steven Lehrer, biosimilars are essential in autoimmune treatments and also in curing cancer. Due to high costs of the drugs, only 8% of the patients in the world use these advanced treatments. Biosimilars are safe as well as effective just like the original treatment. But, biosimilars are very expensive for extensive use in countries other than the western markets.

Cipla BioTec aims to transform the biosimilars market globally by improving access through its strategy of international standard product at affordable price. This unique manufacturing strategy is leveraged from the single use technology and in-house manufacturing software, he further said.

Cipla BioTec and Dube Tradeport Corporation signed an MoU to commence the construction of biotech factory in 2017, and having it fully operational in 2018.

Cipla BioTec CEO Divian Govender said that the facility will be located in the Department of Trade and Industries Special Economic Zone of Dube Tradeport in Durban. The unit will manufacture biosimilar drugs made from living organisms used in the treatment of severe diseases such as cancer. The construction will begin early next year, and will be completely operational from the third quarter of 2018.

With this facility, around 300 jobs, including 180 high skilled jobs and 120 indirect jobs, will be created in the fields of engineering and biological science. The biosimilars produced at this plant will be for both public and private sectors. There is a huge export potential to these drugs in the US, European Union and Asian markets, he added.



The Dollar Business Bureau - Jul 09, 2016 12:00 IST