Lonza teams with S. Africa on antiretroviral API plant

Swiss drug manufacturer Lonza has allied with the South African government on a new, $210 million plant to produce antiretroviral APIs. The venture, dubbed Ketlaphela, is aimed at reducing drugmakers' imports of ingredients for HIV-fighting drugs, beginning in 2016. The plant will employ some 2,600 people, with key workers trained at Lonza's Swiss headquarters.

Right now, South Africa's drugmakers import all their APIs for antiretroviral treatments. Ketlaphela would begin by supplying APIs in South Africa and the broader African market. It could expand beyond those borders after that, officials said. The venture also intends to move beyond antiretroviral APIs and into ingredients for tuberculosis treatments, malaria drugs, and other products key to treating disease prevalent on the African continent, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor told Business Day.

Lonza will put up 500 million rand, or about $64 million, for the project, while state-funded institutions such as the Industrial Development Corp. will provide 1 billion rand, or about $130 million. Pelchem, a subsidiary of the state-owned South African Nuclear Energy Corp., will provide infrastructure and land worth 100 million rand. Lonza gets a 30% stake in the venture, with 50% going to the government and the rest to investors.

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ALSO: Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) plans to spend about €85 million on expanding its API plant in Sligo, Ireland, and will more than double the staff there by adding 175 new jobs. Report