We have an obligation to build pharmaceutical manufacturing self-sufficiency in LMICs, so we’re all ready for whatever comes next. – Aasif Khan.
Aasif Ahsan Khan is the founder of G7 Universal, F+ and the Chairman of Fabtech, a company he built from scratch into a transnational ecosystem that builds pharmaceutical manufacturing capability worldwide.
As a serial entrepreneur, Aasif has exceptional experience helping businesses nurture and even transform into profitable entities. He focuses on making medicines affordable for people. We sat with him for a quick chat about his journey so far and what comes next.
“Tell us a little about G7 and Fabtech”, we asked Aasif.
“Fabtech builds manufacturing capability in countries around the world – we manage pharmaceutical projects and manufacture essential equipment for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies. We also create opportunities for tech collaborations within our ecosystem. Everything we do is rooted in our purpose of saving lives by making medicines affordable and accessible everywhere. It is at the core of my belief system and who we are as an organisation.
This is why through G7 Universal, my investment company, I invest in startups that complement my mission.” says Aasif.
Apart from Fabtech, several companies focus on the same industry, so we wanted to know what makes their organisation unique.
How do you set yourself apart from everyone else?
“As an organisation, we always go the extra mile to support our customers. Every project is a mission to build capability – irrespective of size, complexity, or geography – and we want to deliver a successful outcome.
We’ve set up pharmaceutical manufacturing projects worldwide, but our heart has always been in making low and middle-income countries self-sufficient. For me, this is even more important in the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic – low and middle-income countries (LMIC) must be given the resources and support the need to deal with public health emergencies of this magnitude.
A lot of countries are now treating Covid as endemic. What do you think about this?
I agree that Covid is here to stay and that we should just get on with it, but I also believe our governments should make prevention a key element of their strategy. Simple measures like masking up and better IAQ infrastructure are the need of the day and easy to mandate.
However, I think there is a much larger challenge that we are being shortsighted about – Covid-19 and its fallout. I don’t think the world has yet seen the worst of Covid. The virus continues to cause new illnesses even after people have recovered from the initial Covid-19 infection. These Covid-19 fallout illnesses can include fatigue, anxiety, brain fog, kidney and blood disorders, respiratory ailments and heart problems, and they can last for months or even years after the initial infection. In some cases, these Covid-19 fallout illnesses are so severe that people cannot return to work or care for their families. The long-term effects of Covid-19 are still not fully understood, but it is clear that the virus has a lasting impact on people’s health.
In addition, we have a host of Covid-related epidemics sweeping across the globe in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic – dementia, heart conditions, strokes, and so many more. With half the world still unvaccinated, and no clear preventative mandates in place, this will only worsen over time.” says Aasif.
What, in your opinion, needs to be done to correct this?
Aasif continues, “The pandemic has also exposed the weaknesses in many healthcare systems, particularly in LMICs. As a result, millions have died needlessly, and the economic fallout is expected to push millions of people even further into poverty.
Countries with purchasing power and storage infrastructure can effectively look after their own populations. Low and middle-income countries, however, are left without access to necessary medical care.
Even as LMICs grapple with the immediate health and economic impacts of Covid-19, there is a real risk that the next pandemic could be even more devastating.
LMICs must strengthen their health systems and build resilience in the face of future shocks. This will require significant investment in rapidly building and scaling up manufacturing infrastructure, training and equipment. But it is an essential investment that must be made.
The WHO is working to rectify this situation by providing financial assistance to low and middle-income countries so that they can purchase and store vaccines. However, it will take time for these efforts to be fully realised.
The global pharmaceutical industry needs to rally and support low- and middle-income countries to become self-sufficient quickly, so they are manufacturing essential pharmaceuticals independently instead of importing them from other countries.”
Lastly, we asked him, “How do you think companies like yours can support this effort?”
“Many public health emergencies, such as a pandemic or a highly contagious disease outbreak, occur only once in a generation. This means that pharmaceutical companies must be prepared to respond swiftly and flexibly and have a strategy to address the increased demand for their products in a public health emergency.
Creating partnerships and sharing technology for local production is one way to address this need. Rapidly scalable manufacturing infrastructure is another. We are working and almost ready with a plug-and-play, quick-to-market solution with product knowhow and show how”, concludes Aasif Ahsan Khan, the Founder of G7 Universal, F+ and the Chairman of Fabtech.
Connect with Aasif Ahsan Khan on LinkedIn.