The global drug manufacturer, Cipla BioTec and the SA government signed a memorandum of understanding at a meeting in Goa, India on October 14 which was attended by South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala; Dube TradePort Corporation’s chairperson, Dr Bridgette Gasa, and CEO Hamish Erskine; Global Chief Business Officer and CEO of Cipla Biotec South Africa, Divian Govender.
This will be South Africa’s first biotech manufacturing facility for the production of biosimilars (a biopharmaceutical drug designed to have active properties similar to one that has previously been licensed).
The modern facility is set to produce a range of affordable treatments for cancer and other autoimmune diseases for the African and global market.
MEC Zikalala hailed the deal and said, “As the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, we welcome this investment with open arms. An estimated 80 permanent jobs will be created. The investment represents the introduction of an entirely new technology into the South African economy.
“The nature of this investment is also socially important as it will provide lifesaving treatments for autoimmune diseases such as cancer, which are currently too prohibitive for the majority of South African citizens to afford,” said Zikalala.
Dube TradePort Corporation chairperson Dr Bridgette Gasa said Cipla’s investment was further affirmation that the tradeport was a world-class investment destination.
“The unique position of the new facility will enable seamless pharmaceutical export through the adjacent Dube Cargo Terminal.”
Dube TradePort Corporation CEO Hamish Erskine said: “Our infrastructure and roll-out programme continues to bear fruit as witnessed by the steady stream of investments secured over the last three years.”
The construction of the new facility is scheduled to start in early 2017 with full operations expected to start in the third quarter of 2018. At full capacity it is expected to generate some 300 jobs, with 180 of them being in the engineering and biological science fields and a further 120 indirect jobs.
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