• Pilot programme aims for improved access to biotherapeutics in South Africa
    Bertrand Mérot
  • Petro Terblanche (Credit: Jane-Eye Creative ILN)

Company News

Pilot programme aims for improved access to biotherapeutics in South Africa

Jun 11 2024

Cape-town based Afrigen Biologics has signed a partnership agreement with Belgium company Bio-Sourcing to create a pilot programme in South Africa of a biotherapeutic platform, BioMilkTM with aims to address global unmet medical needs and radically improve access to biotherapeutics, such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and insulin products.

The partners intend to create a new joint entity in South Africa to host the operations, which has already attracted interest from several public funding bodies, with the venture also open to additional investors. 

Both Afrigen, which previously pioneered the establishment of a vaccine technology platform in Cape Town, and Bio-Sourcing, inventor of the technology underpinning BioMilk, believe that the platform will enable the end-to-end manufacturing of the latest biologic medicines in South Africa, including drug substance.

Currently, biotherapeutic medicines such as mAbs are fully imported into South Africa, making them both costly and limited to the largest patient populations.

“We are thrilled to be a partner in this innovative biotherapeutic platform. It further enhances Afrigen’s commitment to improving access and affordability of the latest treatments not only for South Africans, but also other people in Africa,” said Professor Petro Terblanche, CEO of Afrigen. “With this pilot phase, we aim to demonstrate successful technology transfer to South Africa and develop a commercial scale-up plan for producing biotherapeutics at a significantly lower cost. The BioMilk platform ideally complements the state-of-the art mRNA technology platform at Afrigen. We expect to usher in a new era of products innovation, where the latest therapies are affordable, to offer hope and healing to patients confronting complex medical challenges.”

“Bio-Sourcing’s collaboration with Afrigen, a well-known and established player in the biopharmaceutical sector, represents an important step in the deployment of Bio-Sourcing in health care. I am particularly keen to bring BioMilk technology to Africa, where its benefits in terms of investment costs, production costs and sustainability are more critical than anywhere else. I look forward to the future installation of our first bulk plant and to providing the people of South Africa and other African countries with access to the medicines they need,” said Bertrand Mérot, CEO of Bio-Sourcing.

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