This biotech company wants to be Mzansi's first-ever, plant-made pharma firm
AzarGen Biotechnologies is the only private, plant-based biopharmaceutical company in South Africa.
The Stellenbosch-based company aims to become the first-ever commercial, plant-made pharmaceutical producer to recreate expensive cancer drugs and other medicines that are out of patent restrictions.
The biotech firm uses advanced genetic engineering and synthetic biology techniques to duplicate biopharmaceutical compounds of high value.
Mauritz Venter, the co-founder and CEO of AzarGen, says they have spent the past 14 years invested in research and development.
Now, the company is on track to create one of the world’s first biological plant-based versions of a ‘blockbuster’ cancer drug.
South Africa doesn't really have a biotech sector and we want to play a role in the biotech revolution.Mauritz Venter, CEO of AzarGen Biotechnologies
These very expensive cancer drug and drugs for rare diseases are going off-patent and there's an opportunity to make a copy of these drugs known as a 'biosimilar'. That is where we want to play a role.Mauritz Venter, CEO of AzarGen Biotechnologies
Listen to the discussion on Upfront with Refilwe Moloto: