Aspen opens R1 billion high containment facility

Port Elizabeth – JSE Limited-listed Aspen Pharmacare (APN), South Africa’s largest pharmaceutical company, officially opened its R1 billion Port Elizabeth-based high containment facility earlier today.

Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive said, “Aspen continues its evolution into a global specialty manufacturer of niche products requiring complex technologies. The high potency manufacturing facility we are opening today represents such complex technologies, providing Aspen with the opportunity to expand it exports with products which are used for rare indications.  Initial production in this facility is planned for Alkeran, Leukeran and Purinethol (treatment of late stage cancers), Imuran (prevention of organ tissue rejection in liver and kidney transplants as well as treatment of certain autoimmune diseases) and Benztropine (treatment of Parkinson’s disease).”

Saad added, “The commissioning of this facility further cements Aspen’s position as the largest private investor in the South African pharmaceutical industry, with its current manufacturing operations constituting a significant portion of the installed pharmaceutical volume capacity in our country. Aspen’s ongoing investment in its South African manufacturing sites bolsters the introduction of new technologies, the addition of skilled employment opportunities and the enhancement of our country’s export capability.”

Officiating at the opening, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, said the investment will significantly strengthen our country’s capacity as a manufacturer of quality pharmaceutical products.

“Aspen’s expansion into the High Potency Facility will enable the manufacture of products not previously produced locally and also add to the export capacity of Aspen contributing to the overall growth of the pharmaceutical sector and will potentially have a positive impact on lowering the current trade deficit within this sector,” said Davies.

Minister Davies added that the facility will further enhance both South Africa and Aspen’s status in terms of regional and continental trade.

“Aspen is a leading global producer of regulated hormonal products and a leader in infant nutrition products in select emerging markets. With this new facility, it is anticipated that around 95% of these new products are to be exported with target markets in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa with the first exports expected to Europe as the first regulatory approvals were from Europe.  The new high potency manufacture facility will provide Aspen with niche-type capability to offer the market specialised therapeutics and increase its footprint within the global pharmaceutical environment,” said Minister Davies.”

Aspen’s operations in the Eastern Cape employ over 2500 people of which 2000 are at the Port Elizabeth site with more than 90% of these employees being recruited from local communities. The high containment facility, together with the new sterile facility being built at the same site, will provide for some 500 additional jobs.

In order to ensure world class training capabilities in its employees, Aspen is in the process of establishing a Training Academy. The intention is to give Aspen employees the opportunity to attain national accredited qualifications in pharmaceutical manufacture.

The 23,000m² facility has been audited by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority and the German regulator, Landesamt für soziale Dienste des Landes Schleswig-Holstein (LAsD) both of which have granted the requested approval. At full capacity, the high containment facility is expected to produce approximately 3.6 billion tablets annually and package some 3 million bottles per month.


Issued jointly by the Department of Trade and Industry and Aspen Pharmacare

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About Aspen

Aspen is a leading global player in specialty, branded and generic pharmaceuticals with an extensive basket of products that provide treatment for a broad spectrum of acute and chronic conditions experienced through all stages of life.

With an acknowledged presence of nearly 2 decades in the pharmaceutical sector, Aspen remains committed to its core values of providing quality and effective healthcare solutions to millions of patients in more than 150 countries, with its core focus being in the Thrombosis, Anaesthetic, High Potency & Cytotoxic and Nutritional therapeutic categories.

Aspen has a strong presence in both emerging and developed countries. Its emerging market footprint includes Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, China, South East Asia, Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, comprising Russia and the former Soviet Republics. It is also a leading pharmaceutical company in developed countries including Australia and most notably in Western Europe.

Aspen operates with an established business presence in approximately 50 countries spanning 6 continents and employs more than 10,000 people. The Group operates 25 manufacturing facilities across 17 sites. Aspen holds international manufacturing approvals from some of the most stringent global regulatory agencies including the FDA, TGA and EMA. Aspen’s manufacturing capabilities are scalable to demand and cover a wide variety of product-types including oral solid dose, liquids, semi-solids, steriles, biologicals, APIs and infant nutritionals.

With a market capitalisation of approximately $10 billion, Aspen is the largest pharmaceutical company listed on the JSE Limited (share code: APN) and ranks amongst the top 20 listed companies on this exchange.  For more information visit










Closed Period

Aspen is in a closed period from 1 January until the publication of our interim results on the JSE SENS platform scheduled to be released on 1 March 2023.

The live presentation will take place in Cape Town at 08h30 on 2 March 2023.