King presides over launch of construction works of an anti-Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing plant

King Mohammed VI chaired this Thursday in the province of Benslimane (Casablanca-Settat Region), the launching ceremony of the works for the construction of a manufacturing plant for Covid-19 vaccines and other vaccines. The plant will require an investment of approximately 400 to 500 million euros.

With the launch of this structuring project which, in the long term, will contribute to ensure the vaccine sovereignty of the Kingdom and the African Continent as a whole, Morocco is taking another step towards effective and proactive management of the pandemic crisis and its consequences.

This industrial unit is in line with the royal vision to position the Kingdom as a key biotechnology hub in Africa and in the world, capable of meeting the health needs of the continent in the short and long term, by integrating pharmaceutical research, clinical development, manufacturing and marketing of biopharmaceutical products of great necessity.

The Benslimane plant for the manufacture and syringing of vaccines (anti-Covid and other vaccines) features 3 industrial lines whose combined production capacity will reach 116 million units in 2024. These lines will be dedicated to the production of pre-filled syringes, liquid vials and lyophilized vials. The plant is expected to start the production of the trial batches by the end of July 2022.

The project, which is the result of a public-private partnership, including the support of one of the world leaders in biotechnology and the “Fill & Finish” industry, the Swedish company Recipharm, will ensure the Kingdom’s self-sufficiency in vaccines and make the country a leading biotechnology platform on the African continent and the world in the field of the “fill & finish” industry.

Named “SENSYO Pharmatech”, the industrial unit, the largest platform by capacity of Fill & Finish of vaccines in Africa, will eventually become one of the top 5 in the world. This large-scale project aims, in the medium term (2022-2025), to transfer the aseptic filling and active substance manufacturing of more than 20 vaccines and bio-therapeutic products, including 3 anti-Covid-19 vaccines, to Morocco in less than 3 years, covering more than 70% of the Kingdom’s needs and more than 60% of those of the Continent.

It is planned in this framework the transfer to Morocco of advanced biotechnology platforms, including clinical research, development and production of cell and gene therapies, stem cells, and advanced in vitro diagnostic technologies.

The project aims, in the long term (2023-2030), the creation of an African Pole of biopharmaceutical and vaccine innovation in Morocco recognized worldwide and this, within the framework of a partnership between major international players in the fields of research and development of advanced technologies in vaccines and bio-therapeutic products and all Moroccan institutions of supervision, including the Ministries of Higher Education, Health, the Interior, Industry, and Finance.

A massive and continuous transfer of know-how is planned to position the Kingdom in the next 5 years as the continent’s locomotive in research, development and production of advanced biopharmaceutical products.

It should be noted that today, thanks to the mobilization of aseptic filling lines available locally in Morocco as well as the transfer of the filling of vials in clean room of the vaccine against Covid-19 of Sinopharm to Morocco, the Kingdom produces more than 3 million doses locally per month. Production capacity will increase to about 5 million doses starting in February 2022 and to more than 20 million doses per month by the end of 2022. By 2025, Morocco will be able to produce more than 2 billion doses of vaccine.

On the sidelines of the launch of the project, the King chaired the signing ceremony of the investment agreement for the realization of the vaccines manufacturing unit.

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