DPI, CDC-backed biotech platform KELIX seals another acquisition

 DPI, CDC-backed biotech platform KELIX seals another acquisition

Dubai-headquartered KELIX Bio, a biotech investment platform created with the merger of Egyptian and Indian drugmakers, has sealed its second acquisition within six months.

KELIX was set up as an emerging markets-focused platform with a corpus of $750 million by Africa private equity firm Development Partners International (DPI), British development finance institution CDC Group Plc and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It was previously known as Zanzibar.

The company said Tuesday it has acquired Pharmaceutical Institute, a Rabat-based Moroccan drugmaker. It didn’t disclose any financial details of the deal.

However, CDC and DPI are pumping in $200 million into KELIX to fund the acquisition, taking the total capital invested thus far to $450 million. This will be supported by an additional $300 million of planned investment over the next two years, bringing the total to $750 million as previously announced.

Pharmaceutical Institute was created in 1989. It built its business via organic expansion and a few acquisitions, including that of OncoMed in 2012.

In the generic medicines space, it is present across segments like cardiovascular/antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory non-steroidal, anti-histaminic, central nervous system, antibiotics, urogenital system and digestive metabolism.

The company has licence arrangements with firms like Medispray, MSD, Menarini, Reckitt Benckiser, Johnson & Johnson, BBraun, Biotest and Macleods.

The Moroccan drugmaker likely has annual revenue in the $50-100 million bracket. This would mean a large acquisition for KELIX, and it may have to call upon its shareholders to pump in additional sum.

Separate email queries to DPI and CDC spokespersons did not elicit a response till the time of publishing this report.

Last September, KELIX had signed a deal to acquire Chemi Pharma Ltd, a unit of Italfarmaco SPA, an injectable oncology manufacturing business located in Malta. This boosted its oncology manufacturing infrastructure.

Led by founders Hocine Sidi Said and Alhadi Alwazir, KELIX Bio is essentially a buy-and-build speciality generics business focussed on emerging markets. It owns manufacturing units in India, Egypt and Malta and markets its products in over 40 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The company used its initial $250 million capital to fund the acquisition and combination of Adwia Pharmaceuticals and Celon Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. Adwia is an Egyptian generic drugs manufacturer while Celon is an Indian oncology and critical care specialist.

Vivek Sinha

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