A roundup of the latest news from South African pharma, including Aspen’s impressive annual growth, Adcock Ingram’s full year profit drop, and Entos Pharma’s approval for Phase II clinical rials in South Africa for its COVID-19 DNA vaccine candidate. In addition, an African Union envoy says that vaccines made in the country will no longer be exported to Europe, and new research suggests that mental health needs of South African children are sorely neglected.
Vaccines made in South Africa to stay in Africa, says envoy
Vaccine doses produced by a plant in South Africa will no longer be exported to Europe following the intervention of South Africa’s government, the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccine envoy said.
South African drug manufacturer Aspen Pharmacare, which has a contract with Johnson & Johnson to assemble the ingredients of its COVID-19 vaccine, will produce for the African continent and millions of doses that had been shipped to European countries but remain in warehouses will be returned, Strive Masiyiwa told reporters.
J&J doses produced in South Africa “will stay in Africa and will be distributed in Africa,” he said at an online press briefing for the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Aspen Pharmacare posts 21% rise in annual profit, resumes dividend
South African drug manufacturer Aspen Pharmacare posted a 21 percent increase in annual profit, helped by a revival in demand for medicines which had taken a hit as people postponed visiting hospitals and clinics during the pandemic. The pharmaceutical major resumed dividends, announcing a payout of 262 cents per share.
African pharma firm Adcock Ingram says its full year profit down 3%
South African pharmaceutical company Adcock Ingram said that its earnings for the year that ended June 30 was down 3 percent compared with a year before, due to the absence of the flu season which impacted its biggest division.
Adcock, whose over-the-counter drug sales division contributes most to profit, said its revenues for the year came in at 7.78 billion rand (USD 517.64 million), up 6 percent from a year ago.
Entos Pharmaceuticals’ COVID-19 DNA Vaccine Candidate Approved for Phase 2 Clinical Trial in South Africa
Entos Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing genetic medicines with its Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) nucleic acid delivery platform, announced the approval by SAHPRA to start a Phase 2 clinical trial of its COVID-19 DNA vaccine candidate in South Africa. The approval is based on positive Phase 1 trial results showing that Covigenix VAX-001 met all safety endpoints with no serious adverse events reported.
Aspen eyes Serum Institute model as it seeks license to make J&J vaccine
South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare wants to model itself on India’s Serum Institute by getting a license to manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, Aspen Chief Executive Stephen Saad said.
“At the moment, J&J could take all the product we make because it’s their product, and sell it to Europe, for example, sell it to the U.S. or Korea, wherever they choose to. We have no say in that,” he told Reuters.
“It’s like Serum where they get the licenses to manufacture. It’s not a foreign model and it’s very exciting,” he said on the licensing talks.
Mental health needs of children in South Africa are sorely neglected, say experts
Globally, it is estimated that 10 percent to 20 percent of children and adolescents are affected by mental health disorders. In SA, research suggests that a lack of intersectoral collaboration on mental health has resulted in children falling through the cracks.