By Luis Arellano
A new factory in Morocco seeks to help meet a key need for the African health care sector. For a long-time Africa’s health sector has relied on outside support for vaccines and other medical needs. This deficiency was laid bare by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
No less than the King of Morocco Mohammed VI opened the new facility at a ceremony today in the Moroccan city of Benslimane not far from Casablanca, the kingdom’s largest city. The effort is the result of a public-private partnership involving the Swedish company Recipharm, a world leader in biotechnology.
Known as “SENSYO Pharmatech”, the site is expected to be the largest platform for Fill & Finish of vaccines in Africa. The developers of the project hope it will soon become one of the top five largest produced of Fill & Finish vaccines in the world.
The new production facility will produce pre-filled syringes with (anti-Covid and other vaccines) via 3 industrial lines. The combined production capacity is expected to be 116 million units by 2024. In addition to the production of pre-filled syringes the site will also produce liquid vials and lyophilized vials for medicinal purposes. The first trial batches will be produced this summer at the facility and are expected to be available by July 30.
The site hopes to produce 20 bio-therapeutic products and vaccines. Among this catalog are three Covid-19 vaccines. As such the facility hopes to meet 70% of Morocco’s needs in less than 3 years and 60% of Africa’s needs as well.
Morocco has one of the stronger industrial bases on the African continent and has been able to rapidly expand production due to COVID-19. Currently, thanks to a partnership with Sinopharm the Kingdom produces more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per month. Production is expected to reach 5 million by the end of next month and a further 20 million doses per month by the end of this year. By 2025, Morocco expects to be able to produce 2 billion doses of vaccine.
The projected is expected to see some €200 million in investment.