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Wednesday, September 28 • 9:00am - 11:00am
(REF 28235) Advancing self-sufficiency in biological medicines manufacturing for broadened access in Africa to achieve SDGs – Convened by CSIR, South Africa

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Biologics such as vaccines, Insulin and Immunoglobulins are medicines manufactured in or extracted from biological sources. Their prominence in healthcare provision globally is driven by their highly specific and generally safe efficacy leading to widespread adoption. They represent a growing part of national Essential Medicines Lists and the WHO Model Essential Medicines List. Modern monoclonal antibody medicines like Trastuzumab for treating some types of breast cancer and Rituximab for treating certain autoimmune diseases and cancers have joined early biologics like vaccines, antitoxins and insulin on these lists.

Unfortunately, the high cost of biological medicines makes them inaccessible and unavailable in many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa. Cost-effective autonomous manufacturing locally near the site of need will help alleviate this problem and broaden access of biologics in resource-limited markets. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the unfair disparity in the timely distribution of much-needed vaccines have further exposed the urgent need for self-sufficiency in vaccine and biopharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is a leading multidisciplinary African research and development organisation established 76 years ago. Its mandate, derived from federal legislation, is to foster industrial and scientific development in cooperation with other African and global partners. Through directed research, the CSIR has made advances in its fields of focus that have contributed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key focus of the organisation’s work is to contribute to the localisation and development of biologics production technologies in Africa in collaboration with partners from around the world.

On the occasion of the 77th United Nations General Assembly Science Summit, this session will showcase African innovation and scientific leadership by the CSIR, its international partners and other roleplayers in biopharmaceutical production. We will present highlights from the organisation’s and its global partners’ work towards the common goal of enabling African self-sufficiency in biologics production. Representatives from the ICGEB (Italy), Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines (South Africa), Sunflower Therapeutics (USA) and the National Bioproducts Institute (South Africa) will present with the CSIR to demonstrate our work’s potential impact on advancing Goal 3: Good health and well-being and Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. We will also highlight our commitment to international partnership and sensitise the community on our call to action for establishing multi-stakeholder partnerships with the CSIR to sharpen and accelerate our contribution to these goals, aligning with Goal 17: Partnership for the goals.


Rachel Chikwamba

Divisional Group Executive: Advanced Chemistry and Life Sciences, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) South Africa

Kerry Love

CEO, Sunflower Therapeutics

Natasa Skoko

Head: Biotechnology Development, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

Caryn Fenner

Executive director: mRNA hub, Afrigen Biologics

Petro Terblanche

Managing Director, Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines

Andre Germishuizen

Head of Division: Quality Management and Scientific Affairs, National Bioproducts Institute
avatar for Tsepo Tsekoa

Tsepo Tsekoa

Chief Researcher, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) South Africa

Wednesday September 28, 2022 9:00am - 11:00am EDT