Port Elizabeth – JSE Limited-listed Aspen Pharmacare (APN), South Africa’s largest pharmaceutical company, officially opened its R1 billion Port Elizabeth-based high containment facility earlier today.
Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive said, “Aspen continues its evolution into a global specialty manufacturer of niche products requiring complex technologies. The high potency manufacturing facility we are opening today represents such complex technologies, providing Aspen with the opportunity to expand it exports with products which are used for rare indications. Initial production in this facility is planned for Alkeran, Leukeran and Purinethol (treatment of late stage cancers), Imuran (prevention of organ tissue rejection in liver and kidney transplants as well as treatment of certain autoimmune diseases) and Benztropine (treatment of Parkinson’s disease).” Saad added, “The commissioning of this facility further cements Aspen’s position as the largest private investor in the South African pharmaceutical industry, with its current manufacturing operations constituting a significant portion of the installed pharmaceutical volume capacity in our country. Aspen’s ongoing investment in its South African manufacturing sites bolsters the introduction of new technologies, the addition of skilled employment opportunities and the enhancement of our country’s export capability.” Officiating as the opening, Dr Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, said, “This investment will significantly strengthen our country’s capacity as a manufacturer of quality pharmaceutical products. We congratulate Aspen on this investment which is fully aligned to government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, the National Development Plan and President Ramaphosa’s call to investment.”
Aspen’s operations in the Eastern Cape employ over 2500 people of which 2000 are at the Port Elizabeth site with more than 90% of these employees being recruited from local communities. The high containment facility, together with the new sterile facility being built at the same site, will provide for some 500 additional jobs.
In order to ensure world class training capabilities in its employees, Aspen is in the process of establishing a Training Academy. The intention is to give Aspen employees the opportunity to attain national accredited qualifications in pharmaceutical manufacture.
The 23,000m² facility has been audited by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority and the German regulator, Landesamt für soziale Dienste des Landes Schleswig-Holstein (LAsD) both of which have granted the requested approval. At full capacity, the high containment facility is expected to produce approximately 3.6 billion tablets annually and package some 3 million bottles per month.