…Expresses commitment to fight malaria in Nigeria, Africa
Poised to reduce the prevalence of malaria in Nigeria and Africa, Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited has signed an agreement with Indian giant, Mangalam Drugs & Organics Limited, to locally manufacture and distribute Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in Nigeria and other African countries.
The organisation made this known in a statement made available to Pharmanewsonline at the weekend. It disclosed that the arrangement includes an APIs technology transfer and licensing agreement which establishes a co-development basis for manufacturing four APIs for the treatment of malaria.
The move, the company noted, will lead to the development of a world-class APIs manufacturing facility in full compliance with international standards and the first of its kind in the sub-Saharan African region.
The statement reads in part: “The agreement reaffirms Emzor’s longstanding commitment to strengthening the pharma sector in Africa. The signed technology transfer and licensing agreement with Mangalam, will provide in-house developed technology for manufacturing antimalarial Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).
“As part of the agreement, Mangalam will also provide consultation and relevant designs for setting up a world-class APIs manufacturing facility compliant with WHO standards. The initial focus will be on the development of 4 APIs: artemether, lumefantrine, sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine.
“The selected APIs provide chemo-preventive combination therapies for malaria in pregnant women as well as treatment for adults and children. Malaria remains the leading cause of death in Nigeria.
“According to the 2020 World Malaria Report, Nigeria had the highest number of global malaria cases (27 per cent of global malaria cases) in 2019 and accounted for the highest number of deaths (23 percent of global malaria deaths). Emzor is a pioneer in the Nigerian malaria space and was the first Nigerian indigenous pharmaceutical company to develop and manufacture artemether/lumefantrine, under the brand name Lokmal, launched in 2009.
“Artemether/Lumefantrine is a WHO-recommended Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT). The use of (S/P) in IPTp (intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy) has been a key contributor to the reduction of maternal (and child) mortality and the negative health impact of malaria on survivors. Emzor is at an advanced stage in the process of submitting a dossier to WHO-prequalification for Maddox, a project supported by Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) with funding from UNITAID.
“The agreement represents an excellent opportunity for local manufacturing and backward integration which supports the firm’s vision to reduce the cost of drugs and the supply chain issues often affecting the distribution and global response, particularly in times of crises as it has been recently experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, this agreement with Mangalam is an apt response to the complete dependency on external firms for APIs to sustain the regional pharmaceutical industry”, the company disclosed.
To ensure the successful launch of the project, Emzor is also collaborating with Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients For Africa (APIFA), a not-for-profit organization facilitating the local production of APIs in sub-Saharan Africa to address the major challenge of the lack of significant API manufacturing capacity in sub-Saharan Africa”, the document revealed.
Speaking on the agreement, Dr Stella Okoli, Emzor’s founder and managing director said “We give God all the glory and praise Him for this great privilege and opportunity to serve Nigerians, Africans and humanity. This deal is exciting for us as it provides Emzor with an opportunity to become a leader in the global fight against malaria and lends to our tireless commitment to bring affordable drugs for all.
She noted that the agreement is not just a victory for Emzor; by being able to manufacture at this level locally, with time we will drive the expansion of our national chemical industries, provide opportunities to utilize the petrochemical industry for making key starting intermediates, create local jobs and reduce the cost of drugs to those that need it the most.
However, most importantly, she said the partnership will lead Nigeria’s pharma sector into the journey to self-reliance and sustainability as it enhances the country’s ability to respond in times of global emergencies.