Aspen Pharma opened its high-containment facility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in May 2018. Credit: The Department of Trade and Industry South Africa.
The high-containment suite will be used for manufacturing high-potent oncological compounds. Credit:
Aspen also provides regulated hormonal products and infant nutrition products. Credit: David Richfield.

In May 2018, pharmaceutical manufacturing firm Aspen Pharma opened a high-containment facility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Estimated to have cost more than R1bn ($70m), the facility is part of Aspen’s commitment to expand its manufacturing capacity and strengthen South Africa’s industrialisation programme by supporting the production of local products.

Aspen is also developing a small-volume facility at the same site, which is expected to create more than 500 jobs.

Details of Aspen’s high-containment manufacturing and sterile facilities

The high-containment suite is spread over a 23,000m² area. More than 95% of products produced at the facility will be exported to Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

The site’s sterile facility will be equipped with pre-filled syringe capability for low molecular weight heparin injectables. The products will be supplied to domestic and offshore markets.

Aspen is also undertaking numerous capacity enhancement projects at the site.

Products and production capacity of the high-containment suite

The facility will be used for manufacturing high-potent oncological compounds. It will produce drugs such as Alkeran, Leukeran and Purinethol, which are indicated for the treatment of late-stage cancers, as well as Benztropine and Imuran.

Imuran is used for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, while Benztropine is indicated for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. These drugs will also be produced at the site.

“The facility will manufacture more than 3.6 billion tablets a year.”

The facility will manufacture more than 3.6 billion tablets a year and will also be capable of packaging three million bottles a month when operating at full capacity.

The parental facility will produce MDR-TB injection Capreomycin and more than 40 million units of Murine® eye drops, one of the best-selling over-the-counter (OTC) eye drop brands in the US.

Financing for Aspen Pharma’s Port Elizabeth facility

The Republic of South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry has provided Aspen Pharma with R209m ($16m) in tax incentives under its 12I tax incentive.

The tax incentive is designed to support greenfield investments such as new industrial projects and brownfield investments, including the retrofitting and upgrading of existing industrial projects.

Benefits of Aspen Pharma’s Port Elizabeth plant

Investment in the facility will enable Aspen to increase and expand its product portfolio, which requires complex manufacturing processes.

The facility will also strengthen South Africa’s export capability by adding a skilled workforce and introducing new technologies.

More than 90% of the jobs generated at the facility will be from local and surrounding communities.

Marketing commentary on Aspen Pharma

Based in South Africa, Aspen is a pharmaceutical company that provides generic pharmaceuticals for the treatment of acute and chronic diseases.

The company’s product portfolio includes oral solid dose products, liquids, biologicals, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and infant nutrition products. Aspen supplies its products to more than 150 countries worldwide.

Aspen operates in more than 50 countries across six continents, employing more than 10,000 people. It has more than 28 manufacturing facilities at eight locations around the world, including three in South Africa.

The company employs more than 3,000 members across Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape and East London, South Africa.