The Biovac Institute was established in 2003 through public private partnership between the South African government and a private healthcare company in order to set up a human vaccine manufacturer in South Africa.
Government is represented by the Department of Health (DoH) as well as the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The facility prioritised infrastructure and methodologies that can potentially address HIV AIDS, TB and Malaria vaccine development. Given that the company is the only vaccine manufacturing facility in SSA, the institute faced a difficult market for sourcing skilled experts in the field, as well as challenges in the existing skills capabilities of employees.
The objective of AMSCO’s intervention at Biovac institute has been to help in the operational capacity of the manufacturing facility as well as to create a vehicle for South African scientists to gain expertise in the vaccine research and manufacturing technology. AMSCO’s assistance has been in sustaining capacity in the management structure of the organisation.
• Relevant training interventions for building commercial vaccine manufacturing capability.
• Enhancement of local procurement: currently Biovac institute has 273 local suppliers, with a total investment in their products varying between $10,000 to $200 million, the latter being for vaccine products. Most of these are South African grown organisations with no foreign ownership.
• Product and technology transfer: various technology transfer initiatives with international partners like Sanofi Pasteur, a French multinational drugs company.
• Job creation: with a growth in headcount from 24 in 2003 to the current 154 in 2015.