Russian Biopharm Company Biocad To Manufacture Biosimilars for North African Market
Biocad, a St. Petersburg, Russia-headquartered biotechnology company, has announced that it will begin manufacturing biosimilars of rituximab and bevacizumab in Morocco for the North African market in partnership with Sothema Labs, a Bouskoura, Morocco-based pharmaceutical company. Besides Morocco, thеse biosimilars are planned to be marketed in other African countries, including Senegal, Gabon, and Côte d’Ivoire.
The reference product of the rituximab biosimilar is Roche’s Rituxan/MabThera (rituximab), a drug to treat certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. MabThera/Rituxan is Roche’s top-selling drug with 2016 sales of CHF 7.3 billion ($7.48 billion). Additionally, the reference product for the bevacizumab biosimilar is Roche’s cancer drug, Avastin (bevacizumab). Avastin is one of Roche’s top-selling drugs with 2016 global sales of CHF 6.78 billion ($7.04 billion).
“..[T]his is the first successful case of transferring technologies of the mAb [monoclonal antibody] drug products manufacturing to North Africa amid the refusal of [W]estern companies to implement such projects. Russia, represented by Biocad, helped its partner to launch high-tech production,” said Dmitry Morozov, CEO of Biocad, in a company release.
Biocad says four years have passed between the start of the collaboration with Sothema and the announcement of the launch, for which time was needed for technology transfer, validation, stability studies, and quality studies, and Sothema’s authorization.
Also, an agreement was reached to localize the manufacturing of finished dosage forms for Biocad’s products in Algeria using the production capacities of its strategic partner.