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Roche grants AIDS technology transfers to two African companies
BASEL, SwitzerlandóRoche recently announced two new technology transfers with local manufacturing companies in Africa: Addis Pharmaceutical Factory in Ethiopia and Varichem Pharmaceuticals in Zimbabwe. As part of Roche's Technology Transfer Initiative, these companies will be provided, free of charge, with the technical expertise and guidance to manufacture generic HIV medicine, based upon the processes to produce saquinavir, Roche's 2nd-line HIV medicine.
To date, Roche has Technology Transfer agreements with a total of five companies across Africa since its launch in January 2006. Roche has received expressions of interest from a total of 32 manufacturers in 15 eligible countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Roche is working with these individual applicants to assess production over the coming weeks.
William M. Burns, CEO Division Roche Pharma, says, "These new agreements highlight the positive contribution that the Technology Transfer Initiative is making to help strengthen and expand local manufacturing capabilities for HIV medicines in Africa. Now entering its second year, the initiative reinforces Roche's commitment to find long-term, sustainable solutions to help increase access to healthcare in the world's poorest countries. With more African manufacturers now looking to scale-up production of essential medicines, the launch of this initiative in 2006 highlights Roche as an innovative leader in supporting sustainable solutions to deliver HIV healthcare where it is needed most."
Roche's dedicated team will work onsite at the manufacturing facilities in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and from its headquarters in Switzerland to undertake the technology transfers. The companies will be able to produce saquinavir for supply throughout Ethiopia and Zimbabwe in addition to any country within sub-Saharan Africa or defined as Least Developed by the United Nations, encompassing 64% of all people living with HIV/AIDS globally.
"For us the benefits go beyond the production of saquinavir, it improves our entire technical and quality systems. We are eager to work with Roche on this initiative which helps to meet the needs of our people suffering HIV, who simply otherwise would not have access to these badly needed medications," says Archibald Chimuka, director of regulatory affairs, Varichem Pharmaceuticals, Zimbabwe.
The Roche Technology Transfer Initiative aims to provide local manufacturers with the technical expertise required to produce generic HIV medicines. Manufacturers in sub-Saharan Africa and the Least Developed Countries wishing to produce generic saquinavir for use in these countries will not be required to apply for a voluntary licence, as Roche has committed as part of its global policy not to enforce patents on HIV antiretroviral medicines within these countries.