South Africa lands Africa’s First Fully Integrated BioPharmaceutical Plant at Dube TradePort in KZN

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cipla BioTec and Dube TradePort will be building Africa's first fully integrated biopharmaceutical plant to make biopharmaceuticals within Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone in KwaZulu-Natal. The parties previously on the 8th July 2016 announced the overall investment level for manufacturing and development costs and it is targeted to be approximately R 1,3 billion.  The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the commercial terms at a meeting in Goa, India on the 14th October 2016.

Cipla MoU

The facility will be South Africa’s first biotech manufacturing facility for the production of biosimilars. The state of the art facility is set to produce a range of affordable treatments for cancer and other autoimmune diseases for the African and global market.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at a meeting held at Cipla Biotec's offices in Goa, India. This landmark event was attended by South Africa's Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala; Dube TradePort Corporation's Chairperson of the Board, Dr Bridgette Gasa, and CEO, Mr Hamish Erskine; Global Chief Business Officer and CEO of Cipla Biotec South Africa, Mr Divian Govender.

MEC Zikalala hailed the deal by saying, “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 in the new manufacturing facility and the estimated 180 permanent jobs that it will generate. 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.

“The nature of this investment is also socially important as it will provide lifesaving treatments for autoimmune diseases such as cancer, which are currently too prohibitive for the majority of South African citizens to afford. In our country, private medical aid schemes only fund health care services to about 16% of the population, where spending through those medical schemes is said to be at least six times higher than in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.”

Mr Zikalala also noted, “The provision of affordable lifesaving medications to the majority of our economically active population will undoubtedly ease the burden on our society, ensuring that we have a healthier and highly productive population.”    

Cipla BioTec aspires to transform the biosimilars market worldwide, by significantly increasing access with its strategy of one global product standard at affordable pricing. Cipla BioTec's unique manufacturing strategy is leveraged from its in house proprietary manufacturing software and single use technology.”

The biosimilars that will be produced at the new facility is anticipated to be used by the state and private health care centers. In addition to local consumption, the life saving medication will also be exported to the to markets in Africa, US, European Union and Asia. These exports are expected to contribute towards South Africa's economic growth.

Dube TradePort Corporation's Chairperson, Dr Bridgette Gasa, explained, “Cipla's investment is further affirmation that we have created a world-class investment destination, which is conducive to doing business in South Africa. Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone (SEZ), together with the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, boasts reliable infrastructure, services and tax incentives to attract both Local and Foreign Direct Investments.”

Dr Gasa added, “Cipla BioTec's facility within Dube TradePort SEZ will allow them to fulfill both the local need and that within the rest of the African market. The unique position of the new facility will enable seamless pharmaceutical export through the adjacent Dube Cargo Terminal as well as the multitude of connecting flights throughout the continent.”  

Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone is firmly on its way towards establishing itself as a key strategic location in South Africa for the production and distribution of medical and pharmaceuticals on the African continent.

Dube TradePort Corporation CEO, Mr Hamish Erskine noted, “Our infrastructure and roll-out program, together with our integrated approach towards attracting and retaining our investments, continues to bear fruit as witnessed by the steady stream of investments secured over the last three years.

“With Cipla's new BioTec facility at the forefront, Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone is positioning itself as a major host for medical and pharmaceutical orientated manufacturing investments, positioned to cater to the African and global markets. As part of this sector strategy, Dube TradePort will construct a specialised utility zone to service multiple pharmaceutical plants within a defined cluster”.   

The construction of the new facility is scheduled to start in early 2017, with full operations expected to commence in the third quarter of 2018, where it is expected to generate at full capacity, some 300 jobs, with 180 of them being in the engineering and biological science fields, while a further 120 indirect jobs will be created.

CIPLA MoU