'Vaccine plant investment will help SA grow pharmaceutical industry'
You don't have too many expatriates who come back to the country to invest money...Bruce Whitfield, The Money Show host
A state-of-the-art vaccine plant was launched in Cape Town on Wednesday by President Cyril Ramaphosa and SA-born biotech billionaire Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong.
The NantSA vaccine production hub in the Brackengate Business Park will produce Covid-19 and cancer vaccines, along with next-generation cell-based immunotherapies.
US-based Dr Soon-Shiong obtained his medical degree at the University of the Witwatersrand.
He is the founder of the NantWorks LLC group of companies focused on biotech, healthcare AI, and mobility.
Bruce Whitfield interviews Dr Glenda Gray, CEO of the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC).
Dr Gray says investing in pharmaceutical manufacturing is a key area in which South Africa can grow.
Where we can invest... in vaccines and drugs, and particularly in cancer drugs, will help the economy of the country as well as the health of the people.Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council
Dr Soon-Shiong is very interested in cancer therapy, and also cancer that is caused by infectious diseases like Kaposi's sarcoma, cancer of the cervix... so he will invest in cancer work as well as in current Covid vaccine research, as well as vaccines for TB, dengue fever, Zika and HIV.Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council
If we invest with him in R&D for drug and vaccine manufacturing, it's important for both our country and the continent.Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council
She says this could grow South Africa's pharmaceutical industry: "There's no reason we shouldn't be involved in this like India and China."
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of the African continent in terms of global supply chains.
Dr Gray notes that we have sometimes been held to ransom by the lack of access to vaccines.
We need to make sure that we understand the active pharmaceutical ingredients and manufacture them here. Importing APIs is costly... and sometimes you pay more because you are importing less.Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council
We have to get back to the basic ingredients of vaccine development to make sure that we can manufacture everything, including the APIs, in South Africa which will make vaccines and drugs much more cost-effective.Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council
We have very great academic scientists who are good at discovery... Taking that vaccine to scale requires skills that we don't have in South Africa. That's where Dr Soon-Shiong is investing, in the next step to be able to take something to market.Dr Glenda Gray, CEO - SA Medical Research Council
Listen to the in-depth interview with Dr Gray on The Money Show:
Source : https://twitter.com/PresidencyZA/status/1483752095455105026b