The leading company in the Egyptian pharma market by volume, the Egyptian International Pharmaceutical Industries Company (EIPICO) is now making a region-first move into biologicals and biosimilars manufacturing to power its future growth as well as expanding its international footprint.
Biologics: A Big Leap Forward
The company’s plan to construct a biologicals and biosimilars plant in Egypt, would be a seismic milestone for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as EIPICO Chairman & Managing Director Dr Ahmed Kelani explains.
EIPICO will become the first company in MENA to produce biological products starting from the cell line all the way through upstream, downstream, formulation and packing to the final dosage form
Ahmed Kelani, EIPICO
“EIPICO will become the first company in MENA to produce biological products starting from the cell line all the way through upstream, downstream, formulation and packing to the final dosage form; there is currently one state-of-the-art plant in Saudi Arabia, but it is not producing.”
Dr Kelani continues, “EIPICO 3, as the new plant is called, will manufacture seven biological products, four monoclonal antibodies (MABs) and three biopharmaceutical proteins with an investment cost estimated at two billion Egyptian pounds (USD 81.5 million).”
“The company worked on this project to be adapted to the latest technology in the manufacturing of biological and biosimilar products. EIPICO will equip the facility with the latest technological equipment to provide the highest quality of the products according to the latest market trends and technologies such as using single-use manufacturing vessels and pre-sterilized ready-to-use containers to provide safety and eliminate the possibility of cross contamination,” he adds.
A veteran of Egyptian pharma, previously with Medical Union Pharmaceuticals (MUP), Dr Kelani has long kept a keen eye on potential international expansion opportunities.
Today, EIPICO’s exports cover 70 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Far East, and Latin America. The company represents 25 percent of Egypt’s total exports of pharmaceutical products by value and 30 percent of the country’s pharma exports to Africa, with an expansion plan targeting 15 more countries by 2025.
Dr Kelani outlines his internationalisation strategy thusly. “In 2016, when I was in MUP, we realized that Africa should be a main priority but that the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries were also a logical destination for Egypt’s pharma business. In that context, I believe that Kazakhstan, as the centre of CIS, is an ideal place to invest since it already has a treaty with Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Belarus. It is relatively easy to register products in Kazakhstan.”
He goes on, “In terms of our general expansion plan, EIPICO is interested in creating two hubs on its home continent, one in West Africa and another in East Africa.”