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Company News

CORRECTED-Investors pour $250 mln into new Africa pharmaceuticals company

(Clarifies the new entity is a company, not a fund)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 17 (Reuters) - A group of three founding investors is pouring $250 million into a new company to acquire and create biopharmaceuticals businesses across Africa that will improve the continent’s access to affordable drugs, they said on Tuesday.

Africa’s pharmaceuticals industry is tiny, and African governments’ struggles to procure vital products during the coronavirus pandemic have exposed their dependence upon imported drugs and medical equipment.

The group’s initial investment funded the acquisition and combination of Egyptian generic drugs maker Adwia Pharmaceuticals and Celon Laboratories, an Indian oncology and critical care specialist.

The company aims to use manufacturing and research facilities in India to bolster local manufacturing in Africa and “improve the delivery of essential and affordable specialty generic pharmaceuticals” in Africa, it said in a statement.

The founding investors are the private equity firm Development Partners International, UK-based impact investor CDC Group and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

“The African pharmaceutical industry remains chronically underdeveloped, with over 80% of prescription and over-the-counter drugs imported from outside of Africa,” said Abhinav Sinha, director and head of manufacturing at CDC.

“This platform is being built from the ground up to specifically address the challenges facing African healthcare providers.”

A planned additional fundraising of up to $500 million will finance a “strong pipeline of acquisitions, assist in new drug development, and establishment of new distribution channels”, it said. (Reporting by Joe Bavier Editing by Peter Graff)

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