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18 June 2014

New S.F. biotech company aims to bring therapies to Africa.

A new biotech company in San Francisco will go after a population of patients far from the Bay Area — all the way in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Announcing its formation Wednesday, Serenus Biotherapeutics’ executives said they want to bring needed therapies to Africa: drugs that are close to commercialization, as well as treatments that are made by other companies and already on the market in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Why Africa? The company cited Africa’s projected rise over the next decade in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes, and its subsequent need for medications. Experts attribute those trends to the continent’s growing middle class, economic growth and urbanization.
Leading the company is Dr. Menghis Bairu.

 He was the former executive vice president, chief medical officer and head of  global development of Elan Corporation, an Irish drug company that was acquired by Perrigo Company late last year.

“The Sub-Saharan African region is one of the most dynamic areas of economic growth today and one where the availability of innovative drugs lags demand,” Bairu said in a statement. “Serenus represents the efforts of a passionate core group of individuals with global biopharmaceutical experience stepping to the forefront of an African health care renaissance.”


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