Abuja, 22 April (TDI): On the 20th of April, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari met with representatives from a European consortium named NIBI to discuss bio-pharmaceutical cooperation. The NIBI consortium consists of four biotech companies from Europe, including Merck, Unizima, Rommelag, and Fredlab. The CEO of Fredlab, Vilarugel Cuyas led the European delegation to the meeting on Thursday.
The Nigeria Integrated Biopharmaceuticals Industries Consortium (NIBI), made up of 4 European biotechnology companies, is collaborating with Nigerian start-up PIA BioPharma to establish a world-class Bio-Pharma Industrial Complex in Nigeria. NIBI met with President Buhari today. pic.twitter.com/tlgEllAFdj
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) April 20, 2022
THE COOPERATION BETWEEN NIGERIA AND NIBI CONSORTIUM
The Nigeria Integrated Biopharmaceuticals Industries Consortium (NIBI) which contains four European companies is a partner of a Nigerian start-up named PIA BioPharma. The NIBI and PIA BioPharma aim to work together on establishing a world-class Bio-Pharma Industrial Complex in Nigeria.
The bio-pharmaceutical Complex will focus on manufacturing vaccines and other crucial therapeutics. The Complex will not only contribute to Nigeria’s national bio-pharmaceutical industry but also promote independent production capacity in this field. Accordingly, President Buhari said, “I want Nigeria to make a bold statement in this field.”
Also, the Federal Ministry of Health will closely work with the NIBI consortium and the PIA Biopharma to promote the implementation of the Complex in the coming future.
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS BIO-PHARMA COOPERATION
The outbreak and continuity of COVID-19 have highly encouraged Nigeria to develop a better national bio-pharmaceutical industry. Furthermore, the latest data updated on April 19 from Our World in Data shows that the number of Nigerians who have been fully vaccinated is 13.3 million, or 6.5% of the population. This percentage is not positive enough for Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.
According to WHO, Nigeria and five other African countries have been selected to start the production of COVID-19 vaccines. WHO made this decision because of the truth that the African continent only has limited access to vaccines currently. Therefore, as the first recipients of technology from WHO’s global mRNA vaccine hub, above African countries have their responsibilities to ensure the African continent can make its own jabs to fight COVID and other diseases.
In this case, during the meeting with the NIBI consortium, President Buhari also directed the Minister of Health, E. Osagie Ehanire to submit a progress report on the indigenous production of vaccines in Nigeria by the end of May.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE NIBI CONSORTIUM
The NIBI consortium has four European companies as its members. They are Merck, Unizima, Rommelag, and Fredlab.
Initially, the Merck Group is a German company with more than 350-year history. Merck covers 66 countries and regions across the world. Merck’s three main business sectors are healthcare, life science, and electronics. Moreover, the company has established Merck Foundation as its philanthropic arm of the company. The foundation is a non-profit organization that works on improving the health and well-being of people.
Second, the Unizima is a Belgian company belonging to the Univercells Group. The company focuses on establishing a global ecosystem that can make biologics available to all. Significantly, the Unizima has a mission to support local health systems for their customers.
Third, comes the Rommelag. Rommelag company combines German professional manufacturing and Swiss precision processing. Rommelag supports customers with the know-how of the inventor of the Blow-Fill-Seal technology and the experience of flexible containment solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.
Last but not least, Fredlab is a Spanish company with 45-year experience. Fredlab is an industrial company that offers sustainable and top-quality facilities to various industries including the biopharmaceutical industry.
With the joint work from the above companies, the NIBI consortium is undoubtedly a professional combination. Moreover, with the support from the Nigerian government and local enterprises, we can look forward to the great development of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry and health sectors.