For many years, Israel’s pharmaceutical and biotech sectors have turned some admiring and envious glances their way. Despite the country’s relative youth as an independent state and a history of geopolitical tension, its health and life sciences industries have emerged as a jewel of the Middle East, with rapid expansion in many fields driven by a strong academic underpinning, world-class research facilities and high spending in research and development (R&D).
The country’s high population density and relatively youthful demographics provide plenty of young talent, meaning Israel hosts one of the highest rates of high-tech start-ups per capita in the world.
The Israeli pharma market is broadly composed of generics manufacturers, such as Teva, Taro Pharmaceutical Industries, and Dexcel Pharma, and a host of smaller, R&D-driven biotech companies. But Israel’s strong base and focus on generics – and the growth of Israeli generic drug companies – drive much of its export volumes achieved every year to markets around the world. Of particular importance is the lucrative US market, to which Israel is the fourth-largest supplier of pharmaceutical products.
In contrast, the wider base of Israel’s biotech sector is a healthy eco-system of innovation that is fed by strong underlying academia. Research centers such as the Weizmann Institute, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology provide the starting point for many of the country’s most significant medical discoveries. More importantly, most of these small-scale biotech companies generally rely on out-licensing their products to larger global pharma companies for commercialization.
The pervading culture of entrepreneurial passion and the out-licensing model means that these small firms are providing great opportunities for pharma companies, both local and international, to take their ideas forward commercially. At the same time, high-quality research centers and a dense, genetically heterogeneous population make Israel a good candidate for hosting clinical trials, from the early-stage Phase I and Phase II trials of domestic biotech companies to the larger multi-site trials carried out by pharma firms that are in the later stages of the approval process.
Though Teva, a single Israeli company, rose to such global prominence through acquisitions, the major model that most companies use in the pharmaceutical industry currently is out-licensing. To this end, the Israeli Pharmaceutical industry is open to seeing and actively pushing its products, developed locally by its companies, to be marketed by Novartis or Pfizer, or other companies across all continents.
Ghana is positioning itself as a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing hub to match the growing demand for locally manufactured pharmaceutical products for Ghana, the West African sub-region, and most importantly, for the imminent AfCFTA market. The industry, buoyed by the advantage of its associations, is working to expand its finished product portfolio to include advanced formulations, for generics and specialized products, as well as innovative drug delivery technologies.
With the establishment of the pharmaceutical enclave, the Ghanaian pharmaceutical sector is promoting contract manufacturing and research services as a growth industry area, and this makes the partnership between Ghana and Israel a natural and perfect fit.
For more information on the Israel Pharma sector and partnership opportunities please contact Mr. Edwin Acquah, our lead on the health, medical device, and pharmaceutical sectors.