Technology Transfer Initiative in SSA

Partnership Objectives

  1. Increase access to HIV medicines and address growing need for second-line treatment.
  2. Help companies in countries with limited resources to manufacture generic versions of HIV medicines through knowledge sharing and capacity building.
  3. Strengthen local capacity to provide treatment and reduce reliance on wealthier nations.

Over the four-year period, Roche worked with 13 organisations in six countries to transfer technology and up-scale their capabilities. Over the four-year period, Roche worked with 13 organisations in six countries to transfer technology and up-scale their capabilities. Copyright Roche

What are teh health needs and challeneges?

Although access to first line treatments has improved in developing countries, due to the nature of the HIV virus which can replicate and mutate rapidly, the importance of second line treatments is growing. As a result, increasing manufacturing knowledge and capacity within these regions will play a vital role in providing access to these important therapies.

Summary of partnership activities and how they meet needs and challeneges

Roche initiated the AIDS Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI) aimed at sharing knowledge and supporting local companies in developing countries in gaining the skills needed to manufacture generic versions of vital HIV medicines.

A dedicated team from Roche shared knowledge and hands-on guidance and training on-site for the manufacture of the second line treatment, saquinavir, by local manufacturers in eligible countries. In addition to visiting their local production facilities, training was held at Roche’s factory in Spain to ensure key expertise was shared effectively.

Roche expanded its program in 2008 to include training seminars for local manufacturers across sub-Saharan Africa that focused on the development of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to improve locally-produced essential medicines - not just ARVs.

The goal of the four year program was to provide a sustainable solution to deliver HIV healthcare in resource-limited settings and to reduce African manufacturers’ reliance on the West.

Roche reviewed requests from manufacturers on a case-by-case basis and worked with companies that had the manufacturing capacity and capability to reach the right levels of quality and efficacy.

Lessons learned

During a survey performed in January 2012 it was identified that to date none of the 13 manufacturers/organizations had commenced routine production of saquinivir. This was primarily due to low demand for the product as changing treatment regimens and guidelines position saquinivir further down the list of preferred medications. Due to this, the price of API remains high and generic manufacturers lack sufficient return on high initial investment costs. However, all of the companies now have the capabilities to produce generic medicines under GMP conditions.

Summary of impact through December 2013 and looking forward  

During the initiative, Roche received expressions of interest from 41 manufacturers in 17 countries, assessed 39 of them to determine timing and delivery of technical expertise, and finalised agreements with 13 companies and organizations in 6 countries. These companies and organizations are now capable of producing generic copies of saquinavir.

Additionally, through the training seminars, around 60 delegates from 20 organizations were trained on compliance to GMP.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Roche

Partner(s) Adcock Ingram Healthcare, Addis Pharmaceutical, Aspen Pharmacare, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, CAPS Pharmaceuticals, Cosmos Pharmaceuticals, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania, Radiant Pharmaceuticals, Regal Pharmaceuticals, Shelys Pharmaceuticals, Universal Corporation, Varichem Pharmaceuticals, Zenufa Laboratories

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Generic Manufacturers

Therapeutic Focus Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) HIV/AIDS

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Patient Safety & Medicines Quality, Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Manufacturing and Entrepreneurial Know-How, Health System Infrastructure - Training

Targeted Population(s) Health professionals

Region(s) Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 5

Country(ies) Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

Start Date 2006

More information Roche Making Innovation Accessible

Completed date 2010