Saturday, June 22, 2024

Biomanufacturing Collaboration: Bio-Sourcing and Afrigen Transform South African Medicine Production

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Belgian biotechnology company Bio-Sourcing has partnered with Cape Town-based Afrigen Biologics to introduce a groundbreaking biomanufacturing platform in South Africa. This collaboration centers on Bio-Sourcing’s innovative BioMilk technology, which utilizes genome editing and nuclear transfer technologies to produce biotherapeutics in goat’s milk, with a particular focus on monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). This technology is poised to revolutionize the production of vital medicines by integrating advanced genetic techniques with traditional agricultural methods, potentially setting a new standard for biomanufacturing efficiency and sustainability.

In South Africa, all biotherapeutic medicines, including mAbs used in oncology and autoimmune diseases, are currently imported at substantial costs, limiting access to the larger patient populations. The partnership between Bio-Sourcing and Afrigen Biologics aims to significantly reduce these costs by establishing local production capabilities, thereby increasing the availability of essential medicines and advancing pharmaceutical sovereignty in the region. By localizing production, the initiative not only aims to reduce logistical complexities and costs but also seeks to create job opportunities and build local expertise in the burgeoning field of biomanufacturing.

Biomanufacturing Partnership to Boost Access to Essential Medicines in South Africa

The primary objectives of this partnership are to establish a viable biomanufacturing chain in South Africa using BioMilk technology and to develop and make accessible the most critical biosimilars from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of essential medicines. This initiative is expected to make these treatments more affordable and accessible to South Africans both in terms of volume and pricing. Furthermore, this strategic alignment with global health goals underscores the commitment of both companies to address pressing healthcare challenges through innovative solutions that could serve as a model for other regions.

Bio-Sourcing’s CEO, Bertrand Mérot, emphasized the vast unmet need for biotherapeutics within Africa, noting that local production is nonexistent. He highlighted the effectiveness of mAbs in treating cancer and infectious diseases and pointed out the growing demand for insulin due to the rising prevalence of diabetes in the region. Mérot’s insights reflect a deep understanding of the market dynamics and the critical role that innovative biotechnological solutions play in addressing complex health challenges in underserved markets.

Biomanufacturing

Bio-Sourcing and Afrigen to Establish Joint Entity for Biologic Medicines in South Africa

To facilitate their ambitious goals, Bio-Sourcing and Afrigen plan to establish a new joint entity that will handle the end-to-end manufacturing of the latest biologic medicines in South Africa. This includes everything from drug substances to finished products. The initiative has already attracted interest from several public funding bodies and is open to further investment. The formation of this entity is a strategic move designed to streamline operations and ensure that the integrated supply chain is efficient and capable of meeting the anticipated demand.

In addition to this partnership, Afrigen has also collaborated with Evaxion on developing an mRNA vaccine for gonorrhea and participated in significant public health conferences in Africa, highlighting the critical dependency on imported healthcare products. Meanwhile, Bio-Sourcing has launched AB-BIOBETTER, a three-year EU-funded project to develop an oral antibody treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to biotechnological innovation. These actions highlight the proactive steps both companies are taking to diversify their portfolios and address a broader range of health issues through cutting-edge science and collaborative efforts, ultimately aiming to enhance healthcare outcomes across the continent.

 

Resource: Pharmaceutical Technology, June 05, 2024

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