Kenyan drugmaker gets WHO approval for Africa’s first malaria drug for pregnant women and infants – Vophs Africa

Vaccine nationalism during the CoVID-19 pandemic resulted in advocacy for local vaccine production in Africa. Malaria – one of the leading causes of death among young children in AfricaThere is a disease that benefits from advocacy efforts.

Yesterday, the Kenyan drug maker became Universal Corporation Limited (UCL). The first African industrialist A World Health Organization (WHO) quality assurance certification (pre-qualification) will be awarded for an antimalarial drug used to prevent infection in pregnant women and children. UCL will begin manufacturing sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, a drug it markets as Vail.

“UCL is committed to providing the African continent with quality medicines that are most needed by the people living here. We are not only the first pharmaceutical company in Africa to obtain pre-qualification for sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, but also the first in Africa. “We are filling a much-needed gap,” said Pervez ‘Pallu’ Dhanani, founder and managing director of UCL.

Africa’s Disproportionate Malaria Burden

For decades, Africa has been disproportionately affected by malaria. In 2020, an estimated 241 million cases and 627,000 deaths from malaria were reported globally, with the WHO African Region accounting for 95% and 96% of all cases and deaths, respectively, involving children under five years of age. 80 percent of all deaths in the area.

UCL received pre-qualification with funding from Unitaid, a global health organization that has invested around $160 million to deliver sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine as a preventive treatment for malaria in pregnant women and infants. Is. Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)A Geneva-based Product Development Partnership for Antimalarial Drug Research and Development, which supported the process with funds from Unitaid.

Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, a combination drug, was first tested in the United States. And it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1981. It has since been manufactured and marketed as Fansidar by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-LaRoche. However, there were sales in the US Closeand because of this its use is limited in some countries. Adverse reaction.

UCL is located on the outskirts of Nairobi and started as a family business in 1996, headed by Palo and his brother Rajan.None of whom have a university degree.. They received initial funding from a Finnish investor to build a factory in 2000. In 2005, UCL received a €400,000 investment for a 10% stake and a $1.5 million loan from Finnfund, a Finnish development finance company, enabling it to produce its first batch of drugs from the new factory.

Finnfund invested an additional $10 million in 2008 for a 39% stake. This enabled UCL to obtain WHO pre-qualification in 2011 for its zidovudine/lamivudine antiretroviral drug marketed as Lamozid — the first company in Kenya to achieve this. Lamozide is Of the approximately 255 drugs approved for financing by the Global Fund to fight malaria, AIDS and other diseases.

Finnfund exited the company in 2015, and Indian pharmaceutical company Strides Shasun, a company listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, bought a 51% stake a year later for $11 million. UCL currently manufactures more than 100 formulations of medicinal products exported to more than 22 countries.

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