SOURCE: Serenus Biotherapeutics

Serenus Biotherapeutics

June 18, 2014 08:15 ET

Serenus Biotherapeutics, Inc. Established to Bring Innovative Therapies to Sub-Saharan Africa

Specialty Biopharmaceutical Builds Experienced Team That Makes the Company a Partner of Choice to Firms Seeking to Expand Reach of Novel Drugs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwired - Jun 18, 2014) - Serenus Biotherapeutics, Inc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company bridging the divide between the world's leading pharmaceutical markets and the growing demand for access to innovative therapies in the emerging nations of Sub-Saharan Africa, announced its launch. Menghis Bairu, M.D., the former Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, and Head of Global Development of Elan Corporation, will lead the new company.

Africa is undergoing a major shift in its healthcare burden as economic growth, a rising middle class, and urbanization are fueling an increase in the incidence of chronic diseases and creating demand for medications. The continent is expected to experience the largest increase in death rates from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and diabetes during the next decade. At the same time, pharmaceutical spending is growing at a compounded annual rate of 10.6 percent and is expected to reach $45 billion by 2016, according to the healthcare information market research firm IMS Health.

"Despite the rapid growth of Sub-Saharan Africa and the demand for innovative therapies, drugmakers have been limited in their efforts to enter these markets because of the complexity of doing business in the region," says Dr. Bairu, founder, Chairman and CEO of Serenus. "With our expertise in clinical development, regulation, pricing, reimbursement, distribution, pharmacovigilance, and our deep relationships in Africa, we are positioned to help our partners capitalize on the opportunities in the Sub-Saharan region and bring needed therapies to improve the health of people who live there."

Serenus has assembled an executive management team with extensive biopharmaceutical industry experience in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, positioning itself as the partner of choice for biopharmaceutical companies interested in expanding access to their novel therapies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"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," says Bairu. "Serenus represents the efforts of a passionate core group of individuals with global biopharmaceutical experience stepping to the forefront of an African healthcare renaissance."

While at Elan, Dr. Bairu concurrently served as president and CEO of Speranza Therapeutics, Elan's wholly owned subsidiary formed to develop products into multiple indications. He also served as Elan's General Manager, was the head of Elan International, and has broad international experience in the United States, Europe, Latin America, South East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Prior to that, he worked for several leading biopharmaceutical companies including Genentech, Johnson & Johnson, and served on the board of OneWorld Health, a not for profit pharmaceutical company funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Bairu is also an author and lectures widely on global health and biopharmaceutical issues, particularly in emerging markets.

"The Serenus model is to partner with biopharmaceutical companies to make new therapies available to the people of the African continent much sooner while opening up new markets for intellectual property holders," stated Dr. Skhumbuzo Ngozwana, former International Lead and Consultant for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on the development of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa, former deputy CEO of Cipla Medpro, and Corporate Strategic Advisor to Serenus. "Serenus believes that there is no reason why people in Africa should have to wait for drugs to go off patent and become available in generic formulations before they can get access to them."

About Serenus Biotherapeutics
Serenus Biotherapeutics is a privately held specialty biopharmaceutical company that specializes in late-stage drug development, in-licensing, registering, and commercializing therapies approved in the United States, Europe, and Japan to address unmet medical needs with high regional prevalence in the Sub-Saharan African market. For more information, please visit

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