Founded in 1980, EIPICO is currently the number one company in the Egyptian market by units and number five in terms of value. “The company used to be the largest one in the country … Since there were few competitors at the time, and a non-existing private sector, EIPICO was able to lead until 2007. However, new companies and the arrival of multinationals with manufacturing capabilities such as GSK, Novartis and Aventis presented a challenge for EIPICO,” said chairman Ahmed Kilani in a recent PharmaBoardroom interview.

 

A leading manufacturer branching out into biological and biosimilar products

EIPICO may no longer be Egypt’s number one pharmaceutical manufacturer, but the company continues to be a key player, accounting for almost one fourth of the country’s total pharmaceutical exports. “EIPICO’s exports cover 70 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Far East and Latin America,” said Kilani.

As Egypt’s top producer by units, EIPICO has steadily built its manufacturing capacity with two facilities in the greater Cairo region and a third currently under construction in which the company has invested some USD 80 million.

The new facility will be dedicated to biological and biosimilar products, a first for the region. “EIPICO will become the first company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to produce biological products starting from the cell line all the way through upstream, downstream, formulation and packing to the final dosage form …,” Kilani confirmed.

 

Plans for expansion

EIPICO will become the first company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to produce biological products starting from the cell line all the way through upstream, downstream, formulation and packing to the final dosage form …

Chairman, Ahmed Kilani

Beyond this effort to build its capacity and diversify, the company is looking to expand into Kazakhstan, which, as the centre of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, Kilani believes is “a logical destination for Egypt’s pharma business.” Similarly, EIPICO is interested in creating two additional hubs Africa.

In addition, EIPICO, along with the Arab Company for Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances (ACDIMA), is looking to establish an active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) manufacturing facility to fill this gap in the local industry. “The Egyptian pharmaceutical industry depends mainly on the drug formulation from raw materials, and the manufacture of these materials is completely absent in Egypt, which exposes the drug flow in Egypt to great danger due to world crises affecting supply chains and leads to sudden shortage or stoppage of the active ingredients supply,” said Kilani.

The Egyptian government has demonstrated a keen interest in ramping up the country’s pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities, introducing presidential directives that have incentivized the industry. “Thanks to these presidential directives, Egypt is on the cusp of setting up several advanced technological pharmaceutical industries, such as the manufacture of plasma derivatives, biosimilar biological products, oncology drugs, the creation of a specialized drug city, and other promising projects,” Kilani asserted.