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Minapharm is leading the health-care industry in Egypt toward biotechnology and advanced therapy medicinal products

Dr. Wafik Bardissi

Dr. Wafik Bardissi

Chairman & CEO, Minapharm

“Egypt’s pharmaceutical sector is seeing increasing attention from investors and, starting in 2018, we foresee growing stability for businesses capable of adjusting to the new economics of a changing industry,” states Dr. Wafik Bardissi, chairman and CEO of Minapharm Pharmaceuticals, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Egypt and the Middle East. His company is at the forefront of this changing industry. “The global approach to unmet medical needs is shifting from small molecules to complex genetically engineered products and next-generation advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs). While the focus in Egypt is still on small molecules, Minapharm was an early recognizer of the shift in the health-care industry and embarked on a transition towards large, complex molecules ready to bridge to next-generation medicines,” he explains.

The company has long spearheaded Egypt’s pharmaceutical industry. It established the country’s first privately owned factory and has over 60 years of experience and regional leadership in the sector. “We now cover a broad spectrum of medicines. We partner with other global leaders to manufacture and market branded products and first-to-launch galenic formulations, as well as biopharmaceuticals, and we make over 150 products for numerous medical specializations,” details Bardissi.

In 2001, Minapharm entered into a joint venture with Rhein Biotech in Germany, to establish Rhein-Minapharm, the first research and development (R&D), and manufacturing biopharmaceutical facility in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East. Minapharm further consolidated its biotechnology business model and global market position in 2010, by acquiring the Berlin-based ProBioGen, the leading contract development and manufacturing organization that focuses on cell-line engineering. Since then, as well as working with Minapharm, “ProBioGen has free reign to expand its business and strengthen its solid customer base, which includes large pharmaceutical players from across Europe, the US and the Far East,” says Bardissi.

Minapharm advanced from a regional technology-driven manufacturer of affordable complex medicines, into a global provider of intelligent technologies for the biotechnology industry at large. “The establishment of a hybrid bioengineering R&D community of Egyptian and German scientists allows us to constantly innovate, with synergistic projects driving technology transfer between Minapharm and ProBioGen“

“We have invested in new state-of-the-art facilities in Cairo and Berlin, and will continue to venture into the future of biotechnology and joint projects to develop new immunotherapies for the world” he adds.

Minapharm’s biotech business model serves its mission — Innovation Made Affordable — as it allows the company to cover the full value chain from research to launch, giving it a competitive advantage in pricing in Egypt. “We have developed, manufactured and launched several complex recombinant products, in one case leading to a six fold reduction in the price of an imported competing product. We are also developing new immunotherapeutics, which are normally expensive, but we can market them at affordable prices, as our chain of manufacture goes straight from cell to protein,” notes Bardissi.

He believes that partnerships with other leading pharmaceutical companies in Europe and the US would help achieve this faster: “Cooperation at a technology-transfer level with international businesses is needed to exploit the opportunities in Egypt and neighboring markets, and bring even more biotechnological success“

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