SANTO Plans to Expand Its R&D Hub in Shymkent, Become Leader in Central Asia

ASTANA – The SANTO company, a leader in Kazakhstan’s pharmaceutical market, revealed plans for its research&development (R&D) hub, the company’s scientific laboratory and the plant, which manufactures a diverse range of medicines up to par with European standards of quality, the company’s press service reported on Nov. 2. 

Iveta Dance.

According to SANTO Director of Research and Development and Project Management Iveta Dance, the company supplies pharmaceuticals produced in Kazakhstan to treat patients under the guaranteed volume of free medical care and compulsory medical insurance system as part of long-term contracts signed with the SK Pharmacy company.

“Our company manufactures every fifth package of pharmaceuticals purchased through public procurement. We have always been a reliable partner of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Health and we expect to expand our collaboration in the future,” said Dance.

The pharmaceutical company operates its own R&D Center in Shymkent. It is a one-of-a-kind facility for the country’s pharmaceutical industry, involved in all stages of innovative medication research, including developing a pilot series for clinical trials, drug registration, and the subsequent introduction of new technologies in production. 

Dance pointed out the corporation makes significant investments not only in the extension and upgrading of the R&D hub but also in the professional growth of specialists.

“We hire highly competent and professionally trained people. We are building a new laboratory as well as new manufacturing facilities. The overall cost of the investment project is estimated at nearly $108 million, where $12 million will be spent to establish an R&D center and a new quality control laboratory,” Dance said. 

According to her, the country’s legislation stipulates that production quality complies with the Eurasian Economic Union’s (EAEU) good manufacturing practice guidelines (GMP). 

The factory covers an area of 17 hectares. Photo credit: company’s press service

The company was the first to pass the EAEU inspection procedure and acquired a new GMP certificate indicating compliance with the country and EAEU requirements.

“We are working on achieving European GMP and implementing the new laboratory complex project will only help with this,” Dance added. 

The R&D hub plans to develop innovative pharmaceuticals in Kazakhstan.

“We strive to enhance our scientific capabilities to create new medicines for the European market. Cooperation with Kazakh universities is also one of our most important projects. We make our manufacturing and laboratory facilities available for student training as part of our contribution to the country’s intellectual development,” she said. 

Dance noted that the company has 20 products in development since 2018, rising to 27 in 2022. 

“We want to launch 28 new products by 2023 and 32 new products by 2024,” she added. 

Another critical area of the company’s operation is the advancement of manufacturing technology and analysis methods for current medications. This direction helps to improve their quality considerably, ensure stability and increase the effectiveness of well-known pharmaceuticals.

The company is in the lead of the pharmaceutical market of Kazakhstan. Photo credit: company’s press service

By developing pharmaceutical products for Kazakhstan and the entire Central Asian region, the company intends to become the region’s leader. The company’s products are exported to the surrounding countries.

“We can master new inventive effective drugs that are in high demand both in domestic healthcare and actively exported thanks to the R&D center. The SANTO factory in Shymkent provides medicines to different countries,” said Dance.  

The company’s system of online control over the movement of products from the company’s warehouse to the consumer is rigorous. According to Dance, this includes monitoring temperature and humidity conditions within the conveyance during the duration of the drug shipment. 

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