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Ghana to begin vaccine production as Merck and RMS sign MoU

Written by  Dec 18, 2017
Merck KGaA and Ridge Management Solutions (also trading as RMS Innovativ) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), opening the opportunity for Ghana to become the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to have a dedicated human vaccine manufacturing factory. The plant will encompass a diverse range of products in the medium to long term. The MoU, signed last Wednesday, December 13, 2017, follows fruitful discussions between Merck KGaA and RMS over the past two years. Brigitte Zypries, Germany's Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and a delegation which accompanied the German President, Mr Frank-Walter Steinmeier on a three-day state visit to Ghana, witnessed the signing of the MoU along with the Vice President,  Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. Dr. Bawumia commended the initiative and in a press briefing indicated the government’s full support for the project and said the project was relevant not only for Ghana, but Africa as a whole. Key aspects of the MoU include basic design, facility construction as well as equipment supply installation, tech transfer, validation support, training and qualification of staff. Along with the objectives of addressing some of the problems of local vaccine supply, additional relevance in line with AU policies such as the Pharma Manufacturing Plan for Africa, the Continental Free Trade Area, and along with Ghana’s own Rapid Industrial Transformation Agenda, it is the aim of the government that this project be built to complement these accords and enhance an African initiative in the field. Africa is most dependent for its vaccine supply from external sources with about 99 per cent imported as finished products. Local production along with related technologies is almost non-existent, therefore this initiative will also serve as a catalyst for further growth within the sector. About Merck KGaA Set up in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1668 by Friedrich Jacob Merck, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. Over the course of 350 years the company has become a global pharmaceutical giant, with over 50,000 employees spanning 66 countries who are united by their passion for new ideas, the possibilities of technology and the potential to make a difference in the world. The company is known internationally as Merck. However, in the US and Canada it operates as EMD Serono in Healthcare, EMD Millipore in Life Science and EMD Performance Materials. Merck’s portfolio includes medicines to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, growth disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and thyroid disorders. Their over-the-counter brands are household names and can be found in pharmacies around the world; a prime example being the Seven Seas range of medicines. They also spearhead cutting edge technologies for research, high-tech chemicals, etc. Merck’s success is founded on long-term profitable growth, but a company’s future depends on more than economic factors. Through business activities, Merck aims to help solve global challenges and create a sustainable future. Therefore, particular care is paid to responsibility for people, the products, and the environment. The beacon of Merck’s Corporate Responsibility initiatives is the Praziquantel Donation Programme. Merck commits itself to donating 300 million tablets annually to treat 100 million children, towards eradication. In 2016, 17 million tablets were donated to Ghana. For 2018, 11 million tablets are reserved. Another project is the construction of the Rural Pharmacy — an innovative pharmacy specifically designed for rural parts of Africa. The first Rural Pharmacy has been in operation since July 2014 in Osiem, in the Eastern Region of Ghana as part of a pilot programme. Another is the Global Pharma Health Fund, which is a charitable organisation, exclusively funded by Merck, leading the fight against counterfeit pharmaceuticals. To date, there are 29 Minilabs supplied to Ghana. About Ridge Management Solutions Ridge Management Solutions (RMS) is a project management development company, with a diverse team of professionals primarily involved in capital raise, business development and construction. RMS is headed by Mr Andrew Clocanas, a serial entrepreneur whose business projects and endeavours have consistently entailed significant barriers to entry. He was one of the first to establish a diamond polishing facility in Namibia, in line with the government’s initiative to begin beneficiation of its local resources.  Additionally, he has developed the largest multipurpose real estate project in Ghana (The Saglemi Project), which is currently under construction and is aimed at creating a new conurbation that will include residential, commercial, industrial and recreational facilities for its inhabitants. This housing project will have over 11,000 homes upon completion.   Other areas of interest to Mr Clocanas with projects under development, are in renewable energy, agriculture and recycling, as well as the current collaboration with Merck KGaA to build a plant for the manufacture of human vaccines.
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