Waterford’s EirGen Pharma partners with South African firm

7 Nov 2011

Medical-tech firm EirGen Pharma makes inroads into the South African marketplace via a strategic partnership with Equity Pharmaceuticals

EirGen Pharma, currently on an Enterprise Ireland trade mission to South Africa, has secured a significant partnership agreement with South African pharmaceuticals company Equity Pharmaceuticals to develop and commercially supply five oncology products from its Waterford facility.

This week’s Enterprise Ireland trade mission to South Africa, where 28 Irish firms are holding meetings with their South African counterparts, is being led by Ireland’s Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan, TD. 

The deal size between EirGen Pharma and Equity Pharmaceuticals is €3m per annum, based on an anticipated 20pc market share of the €15m market for this portfolio of oncology products, said Enterprise Ireland today.

Tom Brennan and Patsy Carney co-founded EirGen Pharma in 2005. It employs 45 people at its plant in Waterford, which focuses on the development and supply of niche highly potent drugs typically used in cancer treatment.

Innovative Irish firms make their marks internationally

O’Sullivan said the partnership is another “major win” for an Irish company that has carved out a successful business in international markets. 

“EirGen Pharma’s success confirms that ambitious, innovative Irish companies are highly regarded for their quality of product and service, innovative capabilities and customer focus. Irish companies are winning more and more business in South Africa, and the potential for continued growth is strong. Enterprise Ireland is working with them in the region to strengthen their business links, develop strategic partnerships and win new business contracts,” added O’Sullivan.

Speaking after the announcement, Carney said the company was “delighted” to have secured this agreement with one of South Africa’s fastest-growing pharmaceuticals companies. 

“EirGen and Equity plan to take a significant share of the current market of €15m for these products. We also see further potential in our partnership in the future as we are currently jointly evaluating four other additional oncology products for potential entry to the South Africa and other markets in the region,” he added.

Johann Willemse, CEO of Equity Pharmaceuticals, said the partnership was a reflection of the company’s commitment to bring therapeutically important, high-value products to the South African market.

Enterprise Ireland’s head of International Sales and Partnering, Kevin Sherry, who is accompanying O’Sullivan on the visit, said the partnership with Equity Pharmaceuticals is a very significant one for EirGen. 

“South Africa is recognised as the regional economic powerhouse in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a growing market where an increasing number of Irish companies are establishing a foothold and securing sales. This trade mission is about building on that success, assisting more Irish companies to win more business and thereby increase exports, which will directly sustain and create jobs in Ireland.” 

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic