Thursday 20 August 2020
Kilani: Establishing a new plant for biological products at a cost of 1.2 billion pounds soon
Kilani: I expect more investments in the health sector and mergers to emerge to create strong conglomerates
I wrote – Shaima Hefzy:
Photo by Mahmoud Bakkar:
Dr. Ahmed Kilani, Chairman and Managing Director of the Egyptian International Company for Pharmaceutical Industries (EIPICO), said that the company will offer a preparation of Epiflovir – Faviravir 200 mg, known internationally as “Avigan”, which is used in the treatment of people with Coronavirus, after passing the competency and quality tests with the knowledge of drug control laboratories. Egyptian during the coming days.
Kilani revealed in an interview with Masrawy, that the product will be offered through the Ministry of Health and the Unified Purchase Authority, and it is expected that the company will start producing another product to treat Corona, which is Remedisiver, soon, after obtaining the approvals of the Ministry of Health and the Egyptian Drug Authority.
EIPICO produces heat-reducing preparations Cital (paracetamol), the anti-inflammatory dexamethasone ampoule, the antibiotic epizethro (azithromycin), vitamins and immune-boosting drugs, Cevitil effervescent tablets (vitamin C), ferofol zinc, and eye drops.
Epico has been working – since 1985 – in the production of medical preparations, and it produces about 596 pharmaceutical preparations covering 25 treatment groups, and owns two factories in the tenth of Ramadan, and its market share is about 21% of the total pharmaceutical exports in Egypt, in addition to 129 products under registration, including medicines. Hepatitis and anesthesia, and drops.
And to the text of the dialogue ..
* The company started manufacturing drugs to treat Corona … How was this arranged?
We produce a Japanese preparation from the medicines used in treating people with the Coronavirus, after this drug obtained a license in a number of countries, we applied to register it, and we prepared the formula for the drug, and the initial operation was carried out under the supervision of the Ministry of Health, and it was matched with the quality and efficiency standards of the Ministry’s laboratories. Soon we will produce another American product, in coordination with the Ministry of Health.
When will these drugs be introduced in Egypt?
We started production of Epiflovir-Faviravir 200 mg last July, and we will introduce it in Egypt in the coming days, but we will not market and supply it in pharmacies, and its supply will be limited to the Ministry of Health to be used in the treatment of moderate and severe cases, and we are waiting for a letter from the Ministry to determine its price.
As for the second product, Remedisiver, its production will start soon, after obtaining the approvals of the Ministry of Health and the Egyptian Drug Authority.
* How have the company’s investment projects been affected by Corona?
Our plans and investment projects were not affected during 2020, as a result of the Corona crisis. Studies and research of a project to establish a new plant for Biosimilars have been completed, and the project steps include: Transferring the technology of manufacturing raw materials, pharmaceutical shapes and the engineering design of the factory, and these have not been affected by the Corona pandemic, and we are now developing Final touches in preparation for laying the foundation stone for founding the factory.
The factory will be established on an area of 10 thousand square meters, next to the company’s factories in the tenth of Ramadan, and the cost of the project is about 1.2 billion pounds, to be financed equally between self-financing and bank facilities. Indeed, we have received offers from a number of banks to participate in financing the project, but we did not agree with any From them until now.
* What does the new plant offer to the company and the pharmaceutical market?
The factory will include two production lines for biological manufacturing that provide products for the local market and then go for export, and it will depend on the production of imported products, and this will lead to the substitution of imports by local industry and its settlement in Egypt, and this will have a payoff at the level of the economy and the pharmaceutical sector.
In addition to the fact that the factory’s activity expresses EIPICO’s vision of exploiting investment opportunities in the sector, and we headed to an experiment applied for the first time in Egypt, based on the manufacture of these drugs and biological alternatives completely, starting with genetically modified cells and the use of tissue culture techniques (Upstream) to induce cells to produce proteins. Required and then purification of the produced proteins (Downstream) to produce the desired active substance – the investment in transferring technology to manufacture the raw material for these drugs amounted to more than 100 million pounds – and this is followed by the steps for pharmaceutical manufacturing of the active substance (Formulation) to the final pharmaceutical preparation, which will be available in several forms, including the vial The syringes and pens are ready to be packed, helping patients with chronic diseases and cancer.
How does the company care about research and training?
In EIPICO, we have a research department, and we conduct about 99% of the pharmaceutical research within the company in the company, and continuous investments are poured into this unit, because it is expensive and its investments are not less than 1% of the company’s turnover annually and can be increased.
As for employee training, we have about 5,200 workers, we work to train them, and there are two types of training, training workers on technology, and the second is for educating workers and optimizing work time, which is a strategy the company seeks to implement, but it needs more awareness, especially with an increase Expansions in the company, which need to focus on developing the worker besides the equipment.
* Does the Corona crisis raise the level of hedging in companies, especially with regard to raw materials?
We did not face a crisis in the provision of raw materials in the company, but Corona changed the strategy of companies, especially in maintaining reserves of raw materials that depend mainly on import, especially in light of the fear of a second wave of HIV infections in the world and returning again to the closure measures, Amidst a state of imbalance or clarity of vision about the future, of course each company changed its hedging method according to its own circumstances.
* Have pharmaceutical companies benefited from government initiatives to support the industry after Corona?
All industry and trade companies have benefited from the central bank’s initiatives to support the industrial sector after the Corona crisis, and to reduce interest rates, but pharmaceutical companies need to support exports to access more markets and achieve more export sales, without affecting meeting the needs of the local market, and this needs planning at a strategic level that includes a culture Work and the development of the human element, and cooperation between the labor market, companies and universities to produce a human element suitable for the needs of the work, and this can be done through cooperation protocols with universities that have a major role to make the experiment succeed.
We at EIPICO cooperate with the Regional Unity Project and the Federation of Industries under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Technical Education, to train students in factories, while providing job opportunities for distinguished graduates after them, in addition to a training program during the summer season every year, which includes hundreds of students from universities from all governorates .
* What is the reason for the decline in profits for the first half of this year?
The companies are affected by the Corona crisis, it varies according to the products of each company. During the first half of the year, EIPICO’s profits fell to 262.2 million pounds compared to 398.4 million pounds during the comparative period last year, due to the decline in sales during the crisis because the company does not produce many medicines for chronic diseases, in addition to The tendency of some doctors to close clinics, which negatively affected the movement of prescription drugs and non-chronic diseases.
Also as a result of the closure measures due to the virus, and the cessation of surgical operations, which led to a decline in sales of antibiotics, which represent 20% of the company’s production, and the demand for Episovir as part of the 100 million health campaign to confront virus C stopped and with the end of the initiative this product was not traded in 2020 and this It also affected sales.
The company’s production capacity also decreased as a result of the application of social distancing measures and precautionary measures to confront the outbreak of the virus, granting many workers exceptional leave in implementation of the decisions of the Prime Minister in this regard, and closing factories for a period of up to 15 days as a result of the emergence of infections, all of these factors affected the company’s sales and, consequently, its profitability.
How have export sales been affected by the Corona crisis?
Sales of the local market and exports were affected in the same proportion, there were a number of factors that caused exports to decline during the first half, including the emergence of shipping problems during the Corona crisis, the failure to export cosmetics until the local need was met, and the importing countries from the company were affected by the repercussions of the crisis, and as a result exports decreased by 25 %, But it returned to activity again during May and June.
We export to 66 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Romania, the countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Yemen, the Emirates and Sudan, and we aim to increase the company’s presence in African markets such as Niger, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mali.
* What are your expectations for sales for the second half of 2020 and next year?
Currently, we restore the normal performance of the company before the Corona crisis after easing the precautionary measures, but it is difficult to talk about reaching the year’s targets for profits, but it is possible to approach the targets even though we have not gone through a year like 2020, as for the next year, it is difficult to predict sales And future profits amid global fluctuations resulting from the Corona virus, and not knowing when the epidemic and its repercussions will end, but we hope to achieve an increase in our profits by between 10 and 15%.
* What are your expectations for the pharmaceutical market in Egypt in the future?
I expect that new companies will enter the pharmaceutical market during the coming period, in addition to the expansion of existing companies, especially since there is more than one field in the pharmaceutical industries in which no Egyptian companies have entered, for example the field of biological industries we are the first company to invest in, and the production of raw materials currently based on import It is also an opportunity for investment, and with the presence of investment opportunities, new companies can enter the health care market in Egypt, which needs development, whether at the level of hospitals, laboratories or factories.
Based on the need for development, the health care market in Egypt should witness mergers during the coming period, to create strong economic blocs, and to bypass the stage of small entities, which is a step behind the world intellectually up to 50 years, and this contributes to strengthening the sector, and this needs the courage of investors And more capital and investment in the sector.