Indian-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Cipla will invest more than R1.3bn ($19.34m) in the first advanced biotech manufacturing facility in South Africa for the production of biosimilars.
The investment will be carried out by South African subsidiary Cipla BioTec.
Before the development of the new South African biosimilars facility, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed between Cipla BioTec Pvt Ltd and state-owned enterprise Dube Tradeport in a bid to strengthen commitment for the investment and outlines terms of reference for the new project.
Cipla managing director and global CEO Subhanu Saxena said: “A state-of-the-art, world-class manufacturing base here in South Africa will allow opportunities for supply chain partners and related companies to get involved.
“This in turn will allow top-notch research efforts to stay in South Africa and attract research from international institutions as well.”
The manufacturing facility will produce biosimilar drugs made from living organisms and be used to treat patients affected with cancer and other diseases.
Biosimilars are designed in a way so that they can have the same characteristics as an original biological agent.
With construction slated to commence early next year, the facility is expected to start full operations in the third quarter of 2018.
Located in the Department of Trade and Industries Special Economic Zone of Dube Tradeport in Durban, the new facility will be able to generate up to 180 high-skilled and 120 indirect job opportunities, mainly in the engineering and biological science fields.
The biosimilars developed at this new facility will be used for state and private sectors, along with the scope of exporting them to the markets in the US, European Union and Asia.