Home » South African tycoon Stephen Saad’s Aspen partners with Siemens to boost vaccine production for Africa

South African tycoon Stephen Saad’s Aspen partners with Siemens to boost vaccine production for Africa

by Mfonobong Nsehe

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings, a global specialty and branded pharmaceutical company founded by South African billionaire businessman Stephen Saad, has formed a strategic alliance with Siemens South Africa.

Siemens is a global powerhouse with active operations in diverse engineering and offering products, systems and solutions across the value chain of electrification, automation and digitalization.

The collaboration will enable Aspen Pharmacare, Africa’s largest drugmaker, to strenghen the production capacity of its COVID-19 vaccine to meet the rising vaccine demand in Africa. This will be accomplished by leveraging Siemens South Africa’s technological capabilities to enable faster and more efficient production, while maintaining consistent product quality.

The move comes nearly two months after the South African-based drug manufacturer signed a non-binding agreement with subsidiary firms of U.S. drug behemoth Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to become the first African drug company to manufacture and sell COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.

The agreement with J&J includes the transfer of knowledge and the rights to manufacture finished COVID-19 vaccine products from J&J-supplied drug substances, as well as the right to sell the finished form vaccine, branded Apenovax in Africa under Aspen.

Aspen is presently in the process of acquiring the rights to the first African COVID-19 vaccines, which it plans to launch as Aspenovax in the first half of the second quarter.

Its strategic partnership, which will be implemented as a joint project, will boost South Africa’s pharmaceutical industry’s international competitiveness and improve the continent’s resilience to other diseases and future pandemics.

According to experts, the project will strengthen South Africa’s position as the continent’s most advanced pharmaceutical market, while Aspen will consolidate its position as Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer.

While commenting on the transaction, Aspen Pharmacare Group CEO and Founder Stephen Saad stated that the partnership with Siemens will complement the company’s existing high-tech, state-of-the-art pharmaceutical equipment and systems.

“We are pleased to be able to partner with Siemens for additional digital technologies that will further complement our existing high-technology, state-of-the-art pharmaceutical equipment, and systems used to manufacture advanced sterile medicines, including vaccines for the continent,” he said.

He went on to say that Aspen has invested more than R3 billion ($193.5 million) in its Gqeberha-based flagship sterile manufacturing site in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, which is the country’s single largest investment in the pharmaceutical industry.

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