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  ISSUE No. 64
Mauritius steps into the biotech era with BioAfrica 2014

Over the years, Mauritius has made significant strides towards the development of biotech applications and this has led to the emergence of a nascent biotech industry with four main areas of focus, namely red biotech (healthcare), white biotech (industrial), green biotech (agri) and blue biotech (marine).

There are currently some 15 companies involved in biotech applications in Mauritius. They employ close to 1, 300 people and generate revenue to the tune of USD 100 million. The companies are involved in various activities which include bioinformatics, contract research, clinical trials, pharma manufacturing, medical devices manufacturing, biofertilisers and biofuels manufacturing. Over the last 3 years, Mauritius has attracted close to USD 30 million in terms FDI in the biotech sector.

The Board of Investment has been actively involved in supporting the development of the industry and has facilitated investment projects in various areas of biotech. It has also worked towards developing the legal and regulatory framework in close collaboration with stakeholders.

To give further impetus to development of the sector, BOI organised a two-day conference focusing on biotech opportunities in Mauritius and Africa on 23 and 24 April.

The conference themed “Bio Africa 2014” featured eminent speakers from around the globe. The event witnessed the intervention of delegates from France, UK, South Africa, Malaysia, Reunion, India, and Canada as well as Mauritian stakeholders. BioAfrica 2014 was the ideal platform for creating awareness, opening up new avenues of collaboration and showcasing the opportunities in Mauritius and Africa.

The conference themed “Bio Africa 2014” featured eminent speakers from around the globe. The event witnessed the intervention of delegates from France, UK, South Africa, Malaysia, Reunion, India, and Canada as well as Mauritian stakeholders. BioAfrica 2014 was the ideal platform for creating awareness, opening up new avenues of collaboration and showcasing the opportunities in Mauritius and Africa.

BioAfrica 2014 has been instrumental for the materialisation of a number of projects mostly in the medical biotech and medical devices sectors. Questra, a Malaysian-based Contract Research Organisation has signed an MOU with a local group to start clinical trials. Advinus Therapeutics, a TATA enterprise, has shown keen interest in areas of clinical and contract research. Cap Research, the Mauritian arm of Centre Cap, a French Contract Research Organisation is in discussion stages with foreign companies to carry out clinical trials in Mauritius. Furthermore, the South African company, LifeAssay, is considering setting up a production facility in Mauritius to manufacture diagnostic kits.

BioAfrica was a well awaited event for both local and regional stakeholders. The conference has met its objectives of creating awareness about the sector and promoting Mauritius as a destination for Research and Development. Various suggestions by local and international stakeholders have been well taken on board and BOI will be working in close collaboration with stakeholders to help make this industry bloom and boom, thereby transforming Mauritius into the biohub of Africa.

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