Drug firm Cipla will invest around Rand 1.3 billion (over Rs 590 crore) to launch a manufacturing facility in South Africa for the production of biosimilars.

The company’s “proposed biotech subsidiary in South Africa will invest just over R 1.3 billion into the country’s first state-of-the-art biotech manufacturing facility, for the production of biosimilars,” Cipla said in a statement.

For this a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Cipla BioTec Pvt Ltd and Dube Tradeport Corporation will be signed, it added.

The facility will manufacture biosimilar drugs made from living organisms that would be used in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Construction is scheduled to start in early 2017, with full operations expected to commence in the third quarter of 2018, Cipla said.

Commenting on the development, Cipla MD & Global CEO Subhanu Saxena said a manufacturing base here in South Africa will allow opportunities for supply chain partners and related companies to get involved.

Cipla’s investment in this facility will enable the creation of the first bio-cluster on the African continent, he added.

Cipla to invest Rs 590 crore for a biosimilars plant in South Africa