King Mohammed VI chaired, on Thursday in the province of Benslimane (Casablanca-Settat Region), the ceremony to launch the works for the construction of a manufacturing plant for anti-Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines, a structuring project which, ultimately, will contribute to ensuring the vaccine sovereignty of the Kingdom and the African Continent as a whole.
This industrial unit is part of the King’s vision intended to position the Kingdom as an essential biotechnological hub in Africa and in the world, capable of meeting the health needs of the Continent in the short and long term, by integrating pharmaceutical research, clinical development, manufacturing and marketing of high-need biopharmaceuticals. It must ultimately mobilize an investment of approximately 400 to 500 million euros.
The Benslimane project consists of setting up a vaccine manufacturing and syringe plant (anti-Covid and other vaccines), with 3 industrial lines whose combined production capacity will reach 116 million units in 2024. These lines will be dedicated to the production of pre-filled syringes, liquid vials and freeze-dried vials. The projected investment is approximately 200 million euros, and the start of production of the test batches is scheduled for July 30, 2022.
The result of a public-private partnership, in particular the support of one of the world leaders in biotechnology and the “Fill & Finish” industry, the Swedish company Recipharm, this project will ensure the Kingdom’s self-sufficiency. in vaccines and to make the country a leading biotechnology platform on the scale of the African continent and the world in the field of the “fill & finish” industry.
Baptized “SENSYO Pharmatech”, the industrial unit, the largest platform by capacity for Fill & Finish of vaccines in Africa, will eventually become one of the top 5 in the world. This large-scale project aims, in the medium term (2022-2025), to transfer the aseptic filling and manufacturing of the active substance of more than 20 vaccines and bio-therapeutic products, including 3 anti-Covid-19 vaccines, in less than 3 years in Morocco, covering more than 70% of the Kingdom’s needs and more than 60% of those of the Continent.
In this context, the transfer to Morocco of advanced biotechnological platforms, including clinical research, development and production of cellular and gene therapies, stem cells, and cutting-edge in vitro diagnostic technologies, is planned.
The project aims, in the long term (2023-2030), the creation of an African pole of biopharmaceutical and vaccine innovation in Morocco recognized worldwide and this, within the framework of a partnership between major international actors in the fields of research. and development of advanced technologies in vaccines and bio-therapeutic products and all the Moroccan supervisory institutions, in particular the Ministry of Higher Education, that of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, that of Industry and that of finance.
A massive and continuous transfer of know-how is planned in this respect to position the Kingdom in the next 5 years as a locomotive of the Continent in research, development and production of advanced biopharmaceutical products.
It should be noted that today, and thanks to the mobilization of the aseptic filling lines available locally in Morocco as well as the transfer of the filling of vials in the clean room of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine from Sinopharm to Morocco, the Kingdom produces more 3 million doses locally per month. Production capacity will increase to approximately 5 million doses from February 2022 and to more than 20 million doses per month by the end of 2022. From 2025, Morocco will be able to produce more than 2 billion doses of vaccines.
On this occasion, the Sovereign presided over the signing ceremony of the investment agreement for the construction of the manufacturing unit for anti-Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines, in Benslimane.
It was signed by Nadia Fettah Alaoui, Minister of Economy and Finance, Nizar Baraka, Minister of Equipment and Water, Khalid Ait Taleb, Minister of Health and Social Protection, Younes Sekkouri, Minister Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills, and Mohcine Jazouli, Minister Delegate for Investment, Convergence and Public Policy Evaluation.
It was also signed by Othman Benjelloun, president of the company “Sensyo Pharmatech”, Said Ahmidouch, wali of the Casablanca-Settat region, Samir Lyazidi, governor of the province of Benslimane, Taoufiq Moucharraf, secretary general of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Abdellah Kabiri, Director of the industry division at the National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water.