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To Pharmaceutical Executive: Minapharm discusses its debut in the biotech industry 20 years ago, and unveils development plans of immunotherapy products

Egyptian Biotech

Wafik Bardissi

Wafik Bardissi

Chairman & CEO, Minapharm

“Since most domestic pharma companies and the national drug authorities are preoccupied with today’s pharma challenges (pricing, competition, etc.), limited attention has been given to developing strategies to accommodate growing demand for biologics,” says Minapharm’s CEO, Wafik Bardissi. “The proof is quite simple, as Minapharm is the only biotech player to have emerged in this part of the world during the last 15 years.”

Minapharm took more than “ten years to establish the intellectual capital and organizational culture capable of dealing with the complex manufacturing and analytical processes essential for a variety of recombinant technologies,” and began their efforts in the biotech industry by establishing a joint venture

company with Rhein Biotech (now part of Dynavax Europe) in 2001. The Rhein-Minapharm Biogenetics manufacturing facility was constructed in 2003 in the Tenth of Ramadan City, outside of Cairo, and their first co-developed therapeutic protein was launched in 2005; an interferon alpha 2a product called Reiferon. This first launch was followed in 2006 by a pegylated interferon, Reiferon Retard, and in 2007 by the first recombinant hirudin.

“In 2010 Minapharm acquired ProBiogen, the Berlinbased internationally renowned cellular engineering specialist and global provider of intelligent proprietary technology to the international biotech industry,” explains Bardissi.

Continuing, he describes the tremendous interest this transaction has gained “from the German and European public as for the first time, the buyer of an established leading European biotech enterprise is from an emerging market.”

ProBiogen will primarily have free reign to expand its business with clients which include global leaders in biopharmaceuticals such as Novartis and Boehringer Ingelheim, while parent company Minapharm will be “focusing on maintaining and consolidating our position at the forefront of the biotech industry,” according to Bardissi. However, he confirms “Minapharm has benefited from a cooperative development plan with our subsidiary ProBiogen to assemble a first-rate pipeline of immunotherapeutic agents that are currently at various stages of development.”

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