Russian biotechnology company BIOCAD and Moroccan pharmaceutical company Sothema Labs announced the launch of medicines derived using the technology provided by the Russian manufacturer into the North African market. The manufacturing of Russian biosimilars of rituximab and bevacizumab indicated for the treatment of cancer, approved in the first half of October 2017, will be based in Morocco. Besides Morocco, thеse biosimilars are planned to be marketed in Senegal, Gabon, and Côte d’Ivoire.
The Russian company BIOCAD developed the biosimilars of bevacizumab and rituximab, which are used in treatment of oncological diseases and are highly demanded both in developed and in developing countries. The original drug is 30% more expensive than the BIOCAD's biosimilar.
“The efforts of our company combined with the eager enthusiasm of our Moroccan colleagues in transferring the production of biosimilars to North Africa has brought remarkable results,” says Dmitry Morozov, the CEO of BIOCAD. “In the coming days, the drug products will go on sale. In my opinion, this is eloquent evidence that Russian companies can compete with leaders of the international market. Moreover, this is the first successful case of transferring technologies of the mAb drug products manufacturing to North Africa amid the refusal of western companies to implement such projects. Russia, represented by BIOCAD, helped its partner to launch a high-tech production.” According to Dmitry Morozov, once the manufacturing site reaches its full production capacity, the partners expect to capture more than 50% of the relevant cancer drugs market.
Experts evaluate the North African market for high-tech mAb drug products such as rituximab, bevacizumab, and trastuzumab at 220 million US dollars and the Moroccan market, in particular, at 40 million dollars. Being the first supplier of the cancer drug biosimilars, BIOCAD may become a leader in the field.
Four years have passed between the start of the collaboration with the Morocco’s company and the announcement of the launch, a time needed for technology transfer and validation, the study of stability and quality of the produced drugs, and their authorization.
Also, an agreement was reached to localize the manufacturing of finished dosage forms for the BIOCAD's products in Algeria using the production capacities of their strategic partner.