Roche Signs Agreements With Ethiopian, Zimbabwean Pharmaceutical Companies for Antiretroviral Production Training

Pharmaceutical company Roche on Tuesday announced that it has signed agreements with Addis Pharmaceutical Factory in Ethiopia and Varichem Pharmaceuticals in Zimbabwe to train the companies on how to develop generic antiretroviral drugs, AFX News reports. Under the agreements, which are part of Roche's 2006 Technology Transfer Initiative, the two African companies will be provided with no-cost technical training and guidance to manufacture generic antiretrovirals based on the processes used to develop Roche's second-line antiretroviral saquinavir (AFX News, 5/29).

Roche researchers will work onsite at the manufacturing facilities in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and from the company's headquarters in Switzerland. Through the initiative, the African companies will be able to produce saquinavir for distribution in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, as well as any country within sub-Saharan Africa. The drug also can be distributed in any country defined as least developed by the United Nations, according to Roche. Roche has Technology Transfer agreements with five African companies. Thirty-two manufacturers in 15 eligible countries -- including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe -- have expressed interest in participating in the initiative. Roche is working with the companies to assess production over the coming weeks (Roche release, 5/29).

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