Saudi CDMO’s fill/finish plant to offer Big Biopharma access to local benefits

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/naruedom
Image: iStock/naruedom

Related tags fill-finish

Saudi Biotech Manufacturing has selected Swedish engineering firm KeyPlants to design and build a fill/finish plant for biological APIs.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based firm Saudi Biotech Manufacturing Co. (SBMC) – a local manufacturer and supplier of a number of biopharmaceuticals, including analgoue insulin and a number of growth factors – has selected KeyPlants for the design and engineering of the new plant, expected to be opened in 2019.

”This is a pure fill/finish including compounding, formulation, filling, inspection, secondary packaging,”​ Jan Lilja, director of  commercial management at Sweden-based KeyPlants told

The aseptic facility in the Sudair Industrial City – located about 120km away from the Saudi capital Riyadh – will be capable of filling up to 8,000 vials, prefilled syringes and cartridges per hour, Lilja added.

It is a modular plug and play modular facility based on KeyPlants´proprietary in-door modular concept to be placed in a warehouse under construction,”​ she continued.

The modular units – made by Swedish Modules, the former Pharmadule AB main fabrication workshop in Sweden – will include equipment for purified water, parts washers, autoclaves, and combi fillers for ready-to-use containers.

Saudi market

The construction is part of SBMC’s strategy to offer fill/finish as a service to international biopharmaceitical companies looking to increase theri access to the Saudi market.

”There is a regulation in force whereby locally produced – in this case filled – will have an advantage over imported drugs in government tenders,” Lilja said. ”All government hospitals are supplied from central tender procurement for all their needs of Rx drugs.”

In 2014​, German biopharma Boehringer-Ingelheim teamed up with two companies based in the kingdom for the secondary packaging manufacture of 26 of its products.

Similarly, AbbVie inked a deal​ with Al-Mukarramah-based firm Arabio for the secondary packaging of its bestselling mAb Humira (adalimumab) in order to become ”a strategic partner to the Saudi government and other stakeholders.”

SBMC itself has entered into agreements with several undisclosed Big Pharma firms to act as a CMO for a number of products intended for the Saudi market.

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