Sandoz transferring cGMP expertise to Africa's Cinpharm

Sandoz sees lots of potential but is taking an indirect route to build a production footprint in sub-Saharan Africa.

1A Pharma, the German affiliate of Sandoz, has an agreement to supply APIs to the generics firm Cinpharm in Cameroon. It also will help the company integrate cGMPs into a plant Cinpharm built in 2010. Sandoz itself is the generics division of Novartis ($NVS).

Nick Haggar, who heads Sandoz operations in Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa told inPharma-Technologist that Sandoz and 1A Pharma "aim to be a leading supplier of high-quality, affordable medicines in sub-Saharan Africa."

It, however, does not plan to build a manufacturing facility right now. Instead it will work "closely" with Cinpharm to "transfer technical expertise, materials and knowledge so that it can upgrade its production operations and achieve cGMP certification for its manufacturing site."

Africa is showing up on the strategy presentations of a number of companies as drug manufacturers look for developing markets with greater potential. In places like China, India and Africa, they can realize some more revenue out of established drugs while searching for blockbusters for Western markets.

Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, chairman of Merck KGaA, just announced the German company intends to have a new Africa strategy lined up in 6 months. It will center on South Africa, although like Sandoz, he says German Merck is not planning to build plants there. The chairman says it would be too difficult to find qualified people to work in a biotechnology plant.

Sandoz's Haggar summed up how companies see the market: "We do see this as a promising emerging market. There is a growing population in the region, as well as a growing awareness among policymakers that generic medicines have the potential to make a significant impact on public health outcomes in Africa."

- read the inPharma-Technologist interview