Swedish drug maker Recipharm yesterday began work on a bio plant in Morocco intended to make the North African country self-sufficient in the production of vaccines against Covid and other viruses.
The Sensyo Pharmatech factory will be built in Benslimane, a city roughly half way between Casablanca and Rabat, on a 60ha greenfield site. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by King Mohammed VI and Marc Funk, the chief executive of Recipharm.
When complete in 2023, the plant will have three production lines making vaccines against coronavirus and other diseases. The aim is to reach about 116 million doses, in the form of ready-filled syringes, in 2024.
The project is expected to cost between €400m and €500m, with financing coming from the Moroccan government, a consortium of the country’s banks and Recipharm.
Funk, commented: “Breaking ground on a facility of this magnitude is a significant milestone and reflects the depth of our joint commitment to meeting Morocco’s long term healthcare needs.
“The past two years have shown the importance of reliable vaccine supply, and we are honoured to have been asked to use our expertise and experience in fill–finish manufacturing to produce vaccines and other biotherapeutics in Morocco. Together with all parties involved, we will work to ensure that countries across Africa have greater access to the healthcare they need.”
In its first three years of operation, the plant will expand its lines to make more than 20 vaccines, three of which will be against the coronavirus. According to Recipharm, this will cover 70% of the kingdom’s needs and more than 60% of needs across Africa.
Morocco is already producing the Chinese Sinopharm Covid vaccine, with more than 3 million doses being made a month. By next month it plans on producing 5 million doses and more than 20 million by the end of the year.