State-owned pharmaceutical manufacturer Ketlaphela, which has yet to begin production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), may soon face competition from a black-owned rival called Inicio, which has secured a licensing agreement with German firm Fluxpharm. The agreement is an important step towards possible local API production for HIV/AIDS drugs, which locally based pharmaceutical manufacturers import from China and India. APIs are the key biological components of medicine. Inicio is headed by Eugene Lottering, formerly MD of Specpharm, and is conducting a joint prefeasibility study with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) into the viability of commercialising technology for local API production. "We are trying to set up a fully black-owned pharmaceutical company to produce APIs," said Lottering. The outcome of the feasibility study would determine whether the IDC participated in the project and took a stake in the venture, said IDC spokesman Mandla Mpangase. The g...

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