BII and DPI exit biopharmaceuticals platform

The transaction is set to be one of the largest private equity exits and M&A deals in the pharmaceutical sector in Africa over the last twenty years

  • DPI, BII and EBRD, founding investors of KELIX bio, have entered a binding agreement to fully exit their investment.

  • The KELIX bio platform, including its four subsidiaries, is being wholly acquired by Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi investor.

  • Since its founding in 2020, KELIX bio has grown to four manufacturing sites in Morocco, Egypt, India, and Malta with an export footprint that expands access to critical medicines in over 50 countries across Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

London, 25 March 2024 – Development Partners International (“DPI”), a premier investment firm focused on Africa, British International Investment (“BII”), the UK government’s Development Finance Institution, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“EBRD”), announce the sale of 100% of the shares in KELIX bio, a leading emerging markets biopharmaceuticals platform, to Mubadala Investment Company (“Mubadala”), the Abu Dhabi investor with over $276bn in assets under management.

KELIX bio was co-founded in November 2020 by investors DPI, BII, EBRD, and executives Hocine Sidi Said and Alhadi Alwazir, in a groundbreaking deal that created the first pan-African biopharmaceutical platform committed to broadening access to vital specialty generic drugs across emerging markets globally.

Following its creation and initial capital injection, KELIX bio raised further funding from DPI (both directly and indirectly through a DPI-managed vehicle which raised capital from Proparco, DEG, FMO and US-based private sector and institutional investors) and BII. This enabled KELIX bio to invest further in new acquisitions, cross-market distribution channels, the research and development of new drugs, and provided the company’s leadership with additional sector and emerging markets expertise to execute their ambitious impact-focused strategy.

Led by CEO Hocine Sidi-Said, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Corporate Development Alhadi Alwazir, and COO Dr. Essam Farouk, KELIX bio was launched as a first-of-its-kind pan-African pharmaceuticals platform and has grown to become a pivotal manufacturer in the Middle East Region and across emerging markets. Since 2020, it has made several key investments and now consists of four subsidiary companies Adwia (Egypt), Celon Labs (India), Kelix Bio Malta (Malta) and PHI (Morocco) operating across six countries.

Acquired by KELIX bio in 2020, Adwia is one of Egypt’s leading generics pharmaceutical companies, exporting across the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Celon Labs, acquired in 2020 and based in Hyderabad, India, manufactures innovative and cost-efficient oncology and critical care treatments, exporting to more than 42 countries globally. PHI, acquired in 2022, is one of Morocco’s largest producers of generic pharmaceuticals. The platform also acquired KELIX bio Malta in 2022, a state-of-the-art facility producing EU approved oncology injectables at a US FDA and EMA approved manufacturing site.

KELIX bio’s scale, experienced management, and synergistic technology transfers have driven rapid growth of the company’s pan-African and Middle Eastern business. The platform’s revenues now exceed US$150 million and the critical medicines it produces are available in over 50 countries across Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

KELIX bio has had a significant impact on UN SDG 3.0, facilitating improved access to critical specialty generic drugs in Africa, offering 105 oncological products, 64 anti-infectives, and 94 treatments for central nervous system and cardiovascular conditions to 20 countries on the continent. KELIX bio customers are able to access drugs at a materially lower cost than competitors. This has been particularly important for Africa given the pharmaceutical sector has historically been significantly underserved there.

DPI invested from its flagship third fund ADP III. The fund, which closed at US$1.15 billion including dedicated co-investment in 2021, is one of the largest dedicated to investing global capital into Africa.

Hocine Sidi-Said, Chief Executive Officer of KELIX bio, said:

“KELIX bio has transformed into a leading pharmaceutical platform that has changed the way specialty medicines are made available in emerging markets. Having successfully invested in broad-based and high-growth specialty generics assets, in high-demand areas such as oncology, diabetes, and specialty injectable forms, KELIX bio has established an excellent operational track record. DPI, BII, EBRD and wider investors have been very supportive, providing the investment KELIX bio needed to achieve our ambitions.”

Sofiane Lahmar, Partner at DPI commented:

“We are delighted to announce the sale of KELIX bio to Mubadala. Since we established the business with our partners, we have worked closely with management to create a unique buy-and-build platform that increases the availability and affordability of quality drugs across Africa and the Middle East. The successful growth of KELIX bio, and its international expansion, is testament to the long-term strategic vision and execution capabilities of Co-Founders Hocine Sidi-Said and Alhadi Alwazir. We firmly believe that KELIX bio has the right foundations from which to build and continue its growth story under new ownership. We wish Mubadala and KELIX bio management continued success with the business.”

Samir Abhyankar, Managing Director at BII, said:

“We are proud to have helped develop and grow KELIX bio into a highly impactful pharmaceutical business operating in our core geographies of Africa and South Asia. KELIX bio has helped to tackle the challenges facing patients and healthcare systems in emerging markets by providing affordable, life-saving treatments and increasing the range and quality of products available, while aiming to reduce the incidences of counterfeit products in the market.

Capital mobilisation is a key part of our role as a leading development finance institution. It is a testament to KELIX bio’s trajectory that it attracted commercial growth capital, securing its successful future.”

Frederic Lucenet, Global Head of Manufacturing and Services at EBRD, said:

“KELIX bio has played a vital role in increasing access to life-saving medications while lowering the costs of products. We have been pleased to play an important part in the launch of the platform to accelerate the delivery of critical drugs in Egypt and Morocco, and this underscores our commitment to developing the pharmaceutical industry in our countries of operation.”

Allen & Overy LLP acted as legal advisor to DPI, BII, and EBRD on this transaction.

The close of this transaction is subject to regulatory approval.