African manufacturing of reagents for rapid testing kits and treatment for coronavirus and other endemic diseases will be transformed by construction of a new Cape Biologix Technologies facility in Mauritius.
This will enable the company to scale up innovative plant-based manufacturing and to commercialise the successful development of plant based recombinant proteins and in particular, antibodies as a spin-off from the University of Cape Town.
The large-scale cGMP manufacturing facility aims to ensure the supply of crucial reagents for the production of 100 million vaccines a month for distribution across Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific.
Initiated by kENUP Foundation, new financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and FIND (the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) for the EUR 47.5 million project was formally agreed.
The EIB will provide EUR 33.3 million for the specialist manufacturing plant in Mauritius. This has been complemented by EUR 3.2m provided by FIND that is being used to fund the rapid scale-up of the pilot phase production in Cape Town, South Africa.
Cape Bio Pharms is a spin-off from the University of Cape Town. The young company has successfully developed a wide range of antibodies, fusion proteins, peptides and enzymes. These contribute to critical research by life scientists around the world and accelerate the search for new diagnosis and treatments to the onslaught of human diseases.
The new EIB financing for Cape Bio is provided under the dedicated Impact Financing Facility that supports high-impact innovative and development focused investment across Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific.It was announced at a virtual signing ceremony attended by the CEO of Cape Bio Pharms, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Board Member of FIND, and EU Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa.
The new EIB support will enable Cape Biologix to build a new manufacturing facility, expand laboratory processing and build climate controlled hydroponic grow rooms in Mauritius to provide plant-made proteins for testing and treatment of coronavirus, Ebola, dengue, measles, yellow fever and other diseases. ■