South Africa to Bolster Pharmaceutical Sovereignty with Cutting-Edge Biotherapeutic Platform

04 June 2024 | Tuesday | News

Partnership between Bio-Sourcing and Afrigen Biologics to Launch BioMilkTM Pilot Program, Aiming to Revolutionize Access to Oncology and Autoimmune Disease Treatments
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

Technology transfer will strengthen South Africa’s pharmaceutical sovereignty and drastically reduce production costs, thus improving affordability and accessibility of key medicines in oncology and life-threatening autoimmune diseases
Bio-Sourcing, a Belgian biotech, and Afrigen Biologics, a South African biotech, today announce the signing of a partnership agreement to develop a pilot program in South Africa of a groundbreaking biotherapeutic platform, BioMilkTM. This cutting-edge platform, developed by Bio-Sourcing, is poised to redefine the landscape of healthcare solutions. BioMilk represents a significant leap forward in the development of novel therapies, aiming to address global unmet medical needs and radically improve access to biotherapeutics, such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and insulin products, in South Africa.

The partners intend to create a new joint entity in South Africa to host the operations. Several public funding bodies have already expressed interest and the venture is open to additional investors. 

Afrigen, which has previously pioneered the establishment of a state-of-the-art mRNA vaccine technology platform in Cape Town, and Bio-Sourcing, inventor of the technology underpinning BioMilk, believe that the platform will enable the end-to-end manufacturing of the latest biologic medicines in South Africa, including drug substance.

Currently, biotherapeutic medicines such as mAbs are fully imported into South Africa at exorbitant prices, resulting in them being unavailable to the largest patient populations. This innovative technology aims to not only strengthen South Africa’s pharmaceutical sovereignty, but will also drastically reduce production costs, thus improving the affordability and accessibility of the essential medicines in the fields of oncology and life-threatening autoimmune diseases.

"We are thrilled to be a partner in this innovative biotherapeutic platform. It further enhances Afrigen’s commitment to improving access and affordability of the latest treatments not only for South Africans, but also other people in Africa," said Prof Petro Terblanche, CEO of Afrigen. "With this pilot phase, we aim to demonstrate successful technology transfer to South Africa and develop a commercial scale-up plan for producing biotherapeutics at a significantly lower cost. The BioMilk platform ideally complements the state-of-the art mRNA technology platform at Afrigen. We expect to usher in a new era of products innovation, where the latest therapies are affordable, to offer hope and healing to patients confronting complex medical challenges."

“Bio-Sourcing’s collaboration with Afrigen, a well-known and established player in the biopharmaceutical sector, represents an important step in the deployment of Bio-Sourcing in health care. I am particularly keen to bring BioMilk technology to Africa, where its benefits in terms of investment costs, production costs and sustainability are more critical than anywhere else. I look forward to the future installation of our first bulk plant and to providing the people of South Africa and other African countries with access to the medicines they need,” said Bertrand Mérot, CEO of Bio-Sourcing.


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