Cipla BioTec and Dube TradePort will be building Africa’s first fully integrated biopharmaceutical plant within the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone.

The facility will be South Africa’s first biotech manufacturing facility and will produce biosimilars, affordable treatments for cancer and other autoimmune diseases. It is targeted at both the African continent and the global market.

Construction of the new facility is scheduled to start in early 2017.

It is expected to be fully operational during the third quarter of 2018. At full capacity, it will create approximately 300 jobs of which 180 will be in the engineering and biological science fields. It will also generate a further 120 indirect jobs.

The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will lead to the construction of the R 1. billion facility in Goa, India on October 14. .

This was attended by Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, Dube TradePort Corporation’s chair, Bridgette Gasa and CEO, Hamish Erskine as well as global chief business officer and CEO of Cipla Biotec South Africa, Divian Govender.

“The technological level of this investment has the potential to impact on a number of economic and social facets of our society well beyond the sizable investment in the new manufacturing facility and the estimated 180 permanent jobs that it will generate. The investment represents the introduction of an entirely new technology into the South African economy which will have a wide reaching impact especially the elevation of the research and development done in our tertiary education institutions,” said Zikalala.

The biosimilars that will be produced at the new facility are expected to be used by the state and private health care centres. In addition to local consumption, they will be exported to markets in Africa, the US, European Union and Asia.

Gasa added: “Cipla BioTec’s facility will allow them to fulfil both local needs and those of the rest of the African market. The unique position of the new facility will enable seamless pharmaceutical export through the adjacent Dube Cargo Terminal via a multitude of connecting flights.”

Dube TradePort Corporation CEO, Hamish Erskine, said that, with Cipla’s new BioTec facility at the forefront, the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone was positioning itself as a major host for medical and pharmaceutical orientated manufacturing investments.

As part of this sector strategy, Dube TradePort will construct a specialised utility zone to service multiple pharmaceutical plants within a defined cluster.