The UK-headquartered pharma giant intends to increase its presence on the continent by increasing its manufacturing capacity, expanding its current facilities in Nigeria and Kenya, and – through partnerships with Governments – building up to five new GMP facilities, with locations currently under review in Rwanda, Ghana and Ethiopia.
The firm announced its plans today as part of the EU-Africa Business Forum in Brussels, with CEO Sir Andrew Witty telling the meeting GSK’s long-term goal was to equip Africa to “discover, develop and produce” medicines for itself.
The firm will spend £100m to expand its manufacturing capacity for products such as antibiotics, respiratory and HIV medicines which it says are locally relevant, with an aim to “transfer the technology, skills and knowledge needed to enable the local manufacture of more complex products over time.”
A further £25m will be spent on building an Open R&D Laboratory for non-communicable diseases, allowing independent researchers access to GSK resources and knowledge, in collaboration with its R&D hub in Stevenage, UK.
“With global attention focused on how we support development beyond 2015, now is the moment for business to play a more active role in contributing to a more prosperous future in Africa, investing in infrastructure, building skills and capability to unlock human potential and create jobs,” said Witty.
“Promising Emerging Market”
GSK’s interest in Africa was boosted in 2009 when it took a 16 percent stake in South Africa-based pharma firm Aspen. As part of the deal, the two firms looked to collaborate in commercialising their portfolios across the continent, especially with regards to generics.
Novartis subsidiary Sandoz forged a pact with Cameroonian generics firm Cinpharm in 2012 as part of what it said would be bigger plans for the region.
At the time the firm’s operational Head of Western Europe, Middle East and Africa Nick Haggar said sub-Saharan Africa was “a promising emerging market.” He added: “There is a growing population in the region, as well as a growing awareness among policy makers that generic medicines have the potential to make a significant impact on public health outcomes in Africa.”