Initiated by King Mohammed VI, an ambitious vaccine manufacturing project aims to make the Kingdom a regional champion in the vaccine industry. Morocco plans to produce 5 million doses of Covid19 vaccine per month in the short term, before moving to a higher rate in the medium term. The country is considered as one of the most active in fighting the pandemic in Africa, and has already managed to vaccinate 10 million moroccans out of 30.
According to many experts, Morocco has not only contained the Covid-19 pandemic, but has also turned it into an opportunity to transform its development model. With nearly 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered to date, the country was already a leader in Africa. It is taking a further step forward by soon manufacturing its own vaccines through a public-private partnership. It is therefore a substantial step that has just been taken, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, in order to preserve the country’s health sovereignty. Three agreements were signed during the ceremony to launch the project to manufacture and syringe the anti-Covid19 vaccine and other vaccines, which was presided over on Monday 5 July by King Mohammed VI at the Royal Palace in Fez.
The first agreement was signed with the Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, following the telephone conversation on August 31 between King Mohammed VI and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Another was also signed with the fifth largest drug manufacturing group in the world, Recipharm, to establish vaccine manufacturing capacity in Morocco.A contract for the provision of the filling facilities of the Moroccan pharmaceutical laboratory Sothema for the manufacture of the vaccine anti-Covid-19 (owned by the company Sinopharm) was signed by its CEO, Lamia Tazi, and by the Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb. The three agreements are considered sufficient to build an anti covid-19 shield not only to protect Morocco, but also to manufacture and distribute vaccines in Africa.
To protect the health of its citizens, the Kingdom has implemented a full-scale strategy
500 million dollars is the amount that Morocco will mobilize in order to provide the Kingdom with industrial and biotechnological capacities dedicated to the manufacture of vaccines in Morocco.The Kingdom will proceed to this implementation according to a precise schedule, to secure the urgent needs in vaccines Covid-19 on the short term, for the production of vaccines of the national plan of immunization in the medium term and in order to build a continental platform of research and development in the long term.
The goal is to create a continental vaccine and biotherapeutics champion within the next five years. To achieve this goal, three phases have been proposed to carry out this project. The first one consists in ensuring the filling capacity in clean room for the anti-covid19 vaccine responding to the immediate sanitary imperative. In this context, Sothema will be required to make its aseptic filling facilities available to the government for the manufacture of the Sinopharm vaccine in Morocco.
The second is the creation of a new production center for vaccines and biotherapies (active substances and finished products). This new center has been the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Moroccan government and the company Recipharm. The Swedish giant will help in managing the construction of the vaccine filling plant. It will also contribute to the training of work teams in Morocco and in Europe in Recipharm’s factories, to the transfer of clean room manufacturing technologies and adequate know-how, to the management of the factory in Morocco and to the guarantee of the quality of the manufactured batches.
The work on this phase starts this year with the establishment of a governance and project management, the start of the infrastructure development, the creation of a business plan and the creation and execution of a master plan.
Finally, regarding the last phase of the project, Morocco aims to develop a production of biotherapies, mRNA active ingredients and biosimilars. This phase starts in 2024 with the objective of creating an African biopharmaceutical and vaccine innovation cluster in Morocco.
Thus, Morocco should become, in the next few years, a leading biotechnology platform on the African continent in the field of the vaccine industry after succeeding in building a regional industrial hub in automotive, aeronautics, or logistics.