Morocco’s Sothema Labs will manufacture recently approved mAb therapies.

In order to establish an operational footprint to deliver new monoclonal antibody (mAb) based oncology therapeutics to patients in Northern Africa, Russian biotech BIOCAD announced it is joining forces with Morocco’s Sothema Labs to produce its rituximab and bevacizumab, two biosimilars which were approved in October 2017.

According to BIOCAD, manufacturing operations will be fielded by Sothema in Morocco, where its technology will be used to produce biosimilars marketed in Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon and Senegal. These biosimilars are 30% less expensive than the original, patented drug. “The efforts of our company combined with the eager enthusiasm of our Moroccan colleagues in transferring the production of biosimilars to North Africa has brought remarkable results,” said Dmitry Morozov, BIOCAD’s CEO.

Dmitry Morozov, the CEO of BIOCAD commented that “this is the first successful case of transferring technologies of the mAb drug products manufacturing to North Africa amid the refusal of western companies to implement such projects.”

With BIOCAD’s help launching operations, Morozov said that once the site reaches full production capacity the partners expect to capture “more than 50% of the relevant cancer drugs market.” According to expert evaluations, the North African market for mAb biosimilars and determined drug products such as rituximab, bevacizumab and trastuzumab will have a value of some $220 million globally and command a $40 million market in Morocco.

The collaboration between Sothema Labs and BIOCAD began four years ago. Since that time, both companies have accomplished tech transfer and validation as well as conducting stability and other testing.