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Biotech giant plans to expand in Brackenfell

The world’s largest biotech company, Roche, is thinking of expanding its multimillion-rand investment in Brackenfell.

The announcement came last week following a site visit by James Vos, Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset management for the City of Cape Town.

Vos confirmed that Roche is now considering acquiring a piece of land adjacent to the current construction site to prepare for further expansion.

In February of this year, the company entered into a long-term lease in Brackengate 2 Business Park and began construction of its diagnostic office.

Construction at the site is well underway, despite the national lockdown, says Vos.

Roche will invest an estimated R700 million and, within the next three years, plans to employ about 300 people to work from its new Cape Town site. The new office includes a laboratory, biotech production capacity and office workspace.

The new expansion will envisage re­search, product development and produc­tion for export from Cape Town, according to Vos.

“Cape Town continues to be an excellent location for businesses looking to launch their operations into Africa and beyond,” he said.

To promote investment in Cape Town, the City’s investment facilitation unit (IFU) offers facilitation assistance to help navigate the municipal processes for larger investment in the City and clearing bottlenecks.

“Our strategy includes incentive schemes that fast track municipal services and application processes to give companies a soft landing,” says Vos.

Roche was founded in 1896 in Basel, Switzerland, with the vision of finding better ways to diagnose and treat diseases. Still head­quartered in Basel the group employs over 94 000 people in 100 countries world­wide. It has since developed many lifesaving medicines, among which cancer medication, antimalarials and antibiotics.

According to its website, 29 medicines developed by Roche is on the WHO list of essential medicines.

In the global fight against Covid-19 the company in May announced that it has successfully developed a Covid-19 antibody test. The test is designed to help determine if a patient has been exposed to the virus, and has developed antibodies against Covid-19, according to a statement issued by Roche.

“Roche has already started shipping the new antibody test to leading laboratories globally and will ramp up production capacity to high double-digit millions per month to serve healthcare systems in countries accepting the CE mark2”, said Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche Group, in a media statement.

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