Home » South African billionaire Stephen Saad’s Aspen partners with Eli Lilly to expand medical access

South African billionaire Stephen Saad’s Aspen partners with Eli Lilly to expand medical access

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Stephen Saad

Aspen Pharmacare, a prominent branded pharmaceutical company led by South African billionaire Stephen Saad, has embarked on a pioneering endeavor by forging a distribution and promotion alliance with global pharmaceutical behemoth Eli Lilly Export S.A.

This strategic partnership aims to enhance medical accessibility across South Africa and the broader Sub-Saharan Africa region. The landmark collaboration, disclosed on Wednesday, is subject to the approval of regulatory bodies, including the Competition Authorities.

The collaboration is expected to improve the availability of cutting-edge medical therapies to patients in critical need. This decision follows Aspen’s recent announcement, under Saad’s leadership, to procure a drug product portfolio from the American-based global pharmaceutical firm Viatris. The deal’s value is estimated at a substantial $280 million.

According to the terms of the latest arrangement with Eli Lilly, Aspen and its subsidiary Beta Healthcare are set to acquire the rights to market, promote, and distribute Lilly’s advanced pharmaceutical portfolio throughout the Sub-Saharan Africa region. This strategic accord underscores both companies’ unwavering commitment to augmenting medical access and refining healthcare outcomes across this expansive area.

“Aspen has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Lilly over two decades, and we are delighted to enter into this agreement with them,” said Saad, Aspen group CEO. “Lilly has an impressive portfolio coupled with a very strong pipeline, both of which strongly support this objective. We have confidence in our team’s ability to deliver to all stakeholders on the opportunity presented.”

Cesar Buendia, the general manager for Lilly in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, echoed Saad’s sentiments, underscoring the transformative impact this collaboration could have on patient care. Buendia emphasized that this partnership would further invigorate Lilly’s commitment to innovative and high-quality medicines, ultimately facilitating broader accessibility for patients spanning the region.

This joint venture harmonizes with Lilly’s 30×30 initiative, an aspirational program with the goal of expanding healthcare access to 30 million individuals residing in resource-constrained settings annually by the year 2030. This initiative underscores Lilly’s steadfast dedication to delivering breakthrough medical solutions to underserved populations.

Aspen Pharmacare, founded by Saad in 1997, has steadily fortified its global presence in the pharmaceutical sector for over two decades, diligently catering to patients’ healthcare necessities in more than 115 countries.

Presently, Saad retains ownership of 12.5 percent of the company, equivalent to 57,151,972 ordinary shares. The bulk of Saad’s $1.2-billion fortune, as per Forbes estimates, originates from his stake in this preeminent pharmaceutical conglomerate.

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