The Pilecki, the world’s largest multi-purpose heavy lift ship, left the port of Shanghai last Sunday to transport vaccine production equipment to Morocco to enable the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines at the future Benslimane factory. .
This equipment is transported on board the Pilecki, a gigantic multi-purpose ship, underlines the Chinese press agency ECNS, which specifies that “this vaccine production plant, the largest that China has ever exported to Africa, will enable the manufacture of 20 types of vaccines, including three types of vaccines against Covid-19, meeting more than 60% of demand on the African continent”.
The total volume of production equipment is nearly 40,000 cubic meters, including 118 full-scale modules. The cargo covers an area of 10,000 square meters, almost the size of 1.5 standard football pitches.
Once the ship arrives at the port of Casablanca, the equipment will be transferred directly to the Benslimane site, and assembled “as quickly as possible”, it says.
It should be recalled that the ceremony to launch the construction works of this factory was chaired on January 27 by King Mohammed VI.
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 the manufacture 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.