Small and Medium Enterprises and Biopharmaceutical Innovations in Africa: Challenges and Prospects
Biopharmaceuticals can be described as medicines or medicinal products manufactured through biotechnological processes with links to biological sources especially those of live organisms or their active components. The biopharmaceutical industry is presently experiencing tremendous revenue
growth rates projected at more than $167 billion worldwide in 2015. There are more than 500 biopharmaceutical products that have been approved with about 400 presently marketable in the United States and European markets. The full potential of biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, genomic, genetic and biogeneric compounds is best realized in small entrepreneurial firms which have the capacity for creativity, risk, flexibility and iteration that no large biopharmaceutical entity can match. Although there are challenges facing African Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in biopharmaceutical industry, the prospects on the other hand can be lucrative taking into cognizance Africa’s ever increasing population and the need for affordable health care. To facilitate the contribution of SMEs in Africa, this article presents a perspective on the prospects of African SMEs in biopharmaceutical innovations such as new products, processes and services. The roles of SMEs in the global biopharmaceutical industry are reviewed. Additionally, selected critical factors to accelerate the contribution of African SMEs in global biopharmaceutical innovation are described. Finally, the prospective areas for biopharmaceutical innovation in Africa include research and development, marketing, workforce development and contract manufacturing.
Keywords: Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs, Biopharmaceuticals, Research and Development, Contract manufacturing.
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