- A major technology alliance between Tunisia and Canada was announced in Tunis today during a ceremony attended by ministers from the two countries. BioMena, the result of this alliance, is a private company whose mission is to manufacture affordable biopharmaceutical products for the treatment of several diseases.
The launch of BioMena in Tunis was witnessed by representatives of the Tunisia Ministry of Public Health, Jacques Saada, Canadian Minister responsible for the Francophonie, and many other guests. The launch was said to represent a "major alliance between Tunisia and Canada."
BioMena is to manufacture "affordable biopharmaceutical products for the treatment of diseases such as anaemia, cancer, hepatitis and multiple sclerosis," according to a press release issued by ProMetic, a Canada-based biopharmaceutical company of whom BioMena will be an exclusive licensee.
This new company was created through the collaboration between various Tunisian governmental agencies and financial partners, "all sharing a common goal to provide Tunisia with a strategic industrial platform in the biopharmaceutical industry, while providing the country and the vast Africa and Middle East region with the technological, financial and industrial means to face new challenges in the healthcare sector," according to ProMetic.
This project, initiated in 2003, represents an investment of approximately US$ 48 million by North African and European banks, including the European Investment Bank, as well as by private investors from Tunisia and surrounding regions.
As a licensee of ProMetic's technology, BioMena is to be set in a position to manufacture drugs that meet quality standards and to commercialise them at "very competitive prices in its domestic market," in the Middle East, North Africa and in certain regions of Eastern Europe.
A state of the art plant is to be built in the Sidi Thabet Technopark, located a few minutes north of Tunis, and will employ 50 to 100 specialised workers who will be trained in Canada and Tunisia over the next two years, ProMetic says. BioMena is also to benefit from the technological and commercial support of local and Canadian partners.
At the ceremony, Majhoub Ameur, President of BioMena, said the launching marked the birth of a project "that will bring recognition to our country in this industry." BioMena was said to be "a large scale North-South and triangular project, designed to serve developing countries."
Considering the strategic importance of this sector in developed economies, "reinforcing its foundation here within our territory will allow us to consolidate the progress made and, in the coming years, continue building the required infrastructure to reach national and regional objectives for the health sector," Mr Ameur added.
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