News & Events

Zaphyr supports breast awareness campaigns in the MENA

Thank you Nabtha Health for all your amazing activities to increase breast cancer awareness among the MENA region and for inviting Zaphyr CEO to be part of your prestigious & esteemed panel of experts and for the excellent discussion we had live stream.

“Zulekha Hospital
HealthBay Polyclinic
Friends of Cancer Patients – Pink Caravan
Don’t miss your chance! Are you afraid of suddenly developing #breast_cancer ? Are you doing anything that puts you in higher risk without being aware?! Nabta plus a group of specialists will go #LIVE on Sunday 19th of November to answer all your questions about breast cancer! Be there or be square! Exactly on 5:30 #Egypt, 6:30 #KSA & 7:30 #Dubai time! 🌸🌸Get all your questions ready.”
Nabta Health (FB – 17/11/2017)

Zaphyr at the First UAE France Economic Forum

Zaphyr was proud to be selected to be part of the first UAE – French Economic Business Forum held the 9th of November in Dubai with the presence of H.E Benjamin Griveaux.
We had very interesting discussions on innovation in healthcare with amazing partners from both countries.
This high-level Forum aimed to bolster bilateral economic relationship between France and the UAE.
The event was structured with 3 different panels focused on the main pillars of the Dubai Expo 2020: “Opportunity”, “Mobility” and “Sustainability.

CPhi Worldwide congress Interview with Manel Chikh, CEO, Zaphyr Pharma

Manel ChikhWe are proud to share our exclusif CEO interview for CPhi Middle East & Africa

Dr. Manel Chikh is the founder and CEO of Zaphyr Pharmaceuticals, a pharma company that commercialize specialty products in the MEA region. Founded in 2012, Zaphyr focuses on oncology and rare diseases and operates between Switzerland, Ireland and Dubai.


Given your expertise in the MEA region, how would you assess the present state of the GCC market and across the wider region ?
The MEA market faced a slowdown last year, primarily driven by the oil crisis in key countries such as Saudi Arabia and Algeria, and currency devaluation and economic crises in other countries, Egypt for example.
Governments across the region reacted by increasing their focus on cost containments impacting the healthcare budget, for example Saudi Arabia reduced the annual tender opportunity for selected products leading to a significant decline in revenues for many international companies operating in the region.
However, recent performance indicators show that many countries are recovering slowly, and we can still anticipate the MEA region to be among the fastest growing pharma market regions globally in the near future. The main revenue driver for the majority of multinational companies will remain the innovative medicines portfolio. However, the companies who will diversify into generics, consumer medicines, diagnostics and other related healthcare markets will find interesting growth opportunities. Generics are expected to represent half of all sales in 2017 and will continue to grow.

What opportunities does the market present in your region ?
Government policies and efforts across the MEA region to reduce drug spending whilst simultaneously improving access to quality and cost effective medicines for patients has resulted in the strong performance of generics. Affordability will be the key consideration for both payers and patients, and the most cost-effective options will typically be generics.
Local and regional players and manufacturers are encouraged to develop a larger product portfolio to fulfil national needs. For example, it was announced in January 2017 that as part of the UAE’s strategy to decrease the cost of medicines and limit the country’s escalating healthcare bill, the Emirates’ Ministry of Health plans to increase the number of generic drug manufacturing facilities in the UAE to 30 by 2020.
Innovative drugs will continue to be welcomed in the region. In the GCC for example, the Ministries of Health encourage faster market access to highly innovative diagnostics and medicines, making it a priority to provide patients with the best available treatments. As a consequence, many FDA/EU approved innovative products can be commercialized in just few months in some countries, through specific early access programs before registration.

What are the obstacles in the MEA region that market entrants should be aware of ?
The MEA region is one of the most complex markets to penetrate and operate in due to the fact that each country has its own rules, standards and systems across regulatory, market access and pricing.
The GCC countries have already started a harmonization process to improve this, so for example when a product is approved in one of the GCC countries it can then be marketed in the others. However this is still a work in progress and will take some time to be fully adopted.
Local business practices can also act as a barrier for foreign companies. Several countries, such as Algeria, have policies that provide price or access advantages to local manufacturers, making it very difficult for foreign companies to import products, which have been manufactured abroad.

How do you see the region developing in the coming years ?
The MEA region is expected to be among the fastest growing pharma markets globally. Market data shows that the region is expected to reach $50 billion in the next 5 years. The drivers are the increase of the number of patients suffering from chronic diseases and the requirement of better access to a more sophisticated healthcare system.
By representing approximately 3% of global pharmaceutical sales, the MEA region will continue to attract new players. To be successful in the region, companies will have to be committed and engaged with key stakeholders from each market – health authorities, physicians, payers and patients. This will require flexibility to navigate the complexities of each market, manage fluctuating prices and make difficult decisions to optimize margins, volumes and the investment required to build the path to market and patient.

How do you think the launch of the CPhI MEA event will impact business in your own country and the wider region ?
Each CPhI event is an opportunity to meet new key players, to develop your API or finished dose portfolio, to develop and expend manufacturing and/or commercialization capabilities in new territories and to receive updates on all the new trends. Thanks to CPhI, I met many outstanding partners with whom I built a strong and successful long-term presence in the MEA region.
I fully support and recommend the launch of CPhI MEA. This event will be a fantastic opportunity to highlight the region to the wider pharma market and to give foreign companies real exposure to the potential opportunities it offers.


CPhi Worldwide congress in Frankfurt

Our CEO Manel Chikh will be participating to the MEA leadership roundtable of the CPhi Worldwide congress in Frankfurt.
We look forward to meeting you there.

Agenda & location:
MEA Leadership Roundtable
Date: Day 2, 25th October
Location: Press conference room; Hall 9 T0 “club 221”, Frankfurt Messe
Moderator: Mustafa Rasheed, Head of Professional Services, Client Education, Clarivate Analytics
Manel Chikh, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Zaphyr Pharmaceuticals
Mahmoud Hany Rizk, Managing Director – Pharma Venture MENA
Claudia Palme, Managing Director, 55east

UAE Cancer Congress 2017

Zaphyr Pharma will participate to the 9th edition of the UAE Cancer Congress, which will be held in Dubai from the 5th to the 7th of October 2017.
This is an important event dedicated to the latest scientific developments and research in cancer across the world and brings together all specialties involved in the management of patients with cancer in the region.
This will be a good opportunity for Zaphyr Pharma to develop partnerships with regional physicians and healthcare professionals and discuss the latest innovations in cancer treatments.

Zaphyr Pharmaceuticals and Laboratoires CTRS enter into collaboration for the Middle East & North Africa region for 2 innovative products

Zaphyr is pleased to announce that it has entered into an exclusive supply and distribution agreement with Laboratoires CTRS, regarding marketing and sale of CTRS portfolio of pharmaceuticals products in the MENA region.
In 2013, CTRS received EU marketing authorization and orphan drug market exclusivity for its product Orphacol® (cholic acid), indicated for the treatment of two rare inborn errors of metabolism in the primary bile acid synthesis: 3β-hydroxy-Δ5-C27-steroid oxidoreductase and Δ4-3-oxosteroid-5β-reductase deficiency. Orphacol® has been awarded the “Galenus Prize” (most innovative product) in France in 2014 and the International “Galenus Prize” in 2016. Furthermore, Orphacol® has obtained ASMR 1 (highest level of improvement in therapeutic benefit) from the French Health Authority.

In March 2016 the European commission approved the company’s second product, Neofordex®, containing a high and appropriate dosage (40 mg) of dexamethasone, a common component used in combination with other pharmaceuticals in the treatment of multiple myeloma. While already well established in the treatment protocols, prior to the approval of Neofordex®, dexamethasone had only been available in low strengths (0.5-4 mg), forcing patients to take a very high number of tablets (10-80 per day) to achieve the appropriate dosage. In addition to the increased convenience for the patients, since an adequate dose exposure is critical for efficacy of the treatment regimen, the expectation is that the availability of a tablet in appropriate strength could improve compliance and thereby potentially the treatment outcome.

Under the agreement, Zaphyr Pharmaceuticals gains the rights to Orphacol® and Neofordex® in GCC, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia and will be responsible for the distribution, marketing and sale of the products in that territory.

About Laboratoires CTRS

CTRS is a privately held, commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapies for people living with rare and ultra-rare disorders and solid and haematological tumours.

Zaphyr Pharmaceuticals attended the 9th annual Biotech Showcase meeting, held in January in San Francisco

We met very interesting innovative Biotech companies developing extremely important and life changing Oncology pharmaceuticals products and medical devices.
We started many fruitful discussion for future partnerships to get the exclusive distribution rights in the MENA region

Zaphyr Pharmaceuticals and Gene Signal enter into collaboration for GS-101 (Aganirsen) in the Middle East & North Africa region

Zaphyr Pharmaceuticals is pleased to announce that it has entered into an exclusive supply and distribution agreement with Swiss company Gene Signal, relating to their product GS-101 (aganirsen) eye-drops, under development for the treatment of several ophthalmological conditions.
The lead indication is for the treatment of corneal neovascularization, where one phase III trial has been completed, demonstrating good safety and efficacy. A second confirmatory trial is on-going.

Under this agreement Zaphyr Pharmaceuticals gets the exclusive rights to GS-101 in GCC, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, and will be responsible for the distribution, provision and sale of the product in that territory.

GS-101 is a very exciting product under development for a number of indications with high unmet medical needs and provides a new treatment option for patients suffering from abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye, a common problem within ophthalmology.

About Gene Signal
Gene Signal International SA is a Swiss-based biotechnology company pioneering the development of innovative therapies for angiogenesis-based diseases. Its product candidates are a new class of oligonucleotides, proteins and monoclonal antibodies, which are derived from genes that are exclusively involved in the angiogenesis process. At least four official candidates are in development for eleven indications in ophthalmology, dermatology, vascular disorders and cancer. The company was founded in 2000, is privately owned, and is led by a team of highly qualified scientific and commercial talents. Its headquarters are in Lausanne (EPFL Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Switzerland, with research programs based in France (Bioparc Genopole, Evry) and product development in Canada (Montreal). For more information, please visit: