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A Drug Company Invests $18 Million in an Eritrean S.F. Biopharma Startup

A drug company headliner invests in S.F. biopharma startup with Africa focus

By Ron Leuty

Former Elan Corp. chief Kelly Martin is taking an interest in Africa.

Martin, a director with Ireland's Malin Corp. plc, will join the board of San Francisco's Serenus Biotherapeutics Inc. as chairman. Malin is taking a 41 percent stake in the Africa-focused specialty biopharmaceutical company for $18 million.

Malin will have the right to invest up to $25 million more and raise its stake in Serenus to up to 76 percent.

Kelly and Dr. Menghis Bairu, the founder, president and CEO of Serenus, are no strangers. Bairu was Elan's chief medical officer when Martin was CEO.

Serenus specializes in late-stage drug development, in-licensing and commercializing drugs for African markets that have been approved in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Bairu is a native of the East African country of Eritrea. He created Serenus last year to translate drugs for a growing African middle class that has a bulging list of first-world health problems.

"Over time, you see the evolution of African countries and you see diseases shifting," Bairu told me last year. "I want to change that. We have to change that."

The route for taking Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs to Africa may look easy to an outsider, but it's not, Bairu said. Africa has multiple regulatory systems and distribution problems, for example, but the payoff could be great.

"You just have to customize it and work with the on-the-ground team," Bairu said.

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A Drug Company Invests $18 Million in an Eritrean S.F. Biopharma Startup Reviewed by Admin on 3:10 PM Rating: 5


  1. እንቋእ፡ደሐን፡መጻኹም !!!

  2. keep the good of investment growing by supporting Ertra Economy Investment.

  3. Correct me if I´m wrong but what does this have to do with Eritrea? I know the company was created by an eritrean-american but if the company is going to invest in Eritrea, is not sure from the article. I´m very happy when Eritreans achieve this kinds of successes though.

  4. What do you mean, you do not believe in private investment .

  5. Individual can play significant role in any nation/s .

  6. I like the ethically correct of the pharmaceutical business, i heard many times in the developed world they stand for a sake of making profit primarily, heard many scandals ect.
    Hope dr. Menghis & Co. have different approach.

  7. It's the governement's job to prevent scandals from occurring we should not live in shadow of fear!!!

  8. Most definitely, Dr. Menghis and his friends will succeed in their investment venture. After all, Eritrea is ready with hardworking, creative, educated and talented youth, the Warsai Generation, which key to success.

  9. The 3 of you misunderstood what I meant. From the article, one cannot gather, if this Company is going to invest in Eritrea. That´s what I said.

  10. It is every individual's obligation such responsibility could not be shouldered only by the government. Pharmaceutical business by itself is very sensitive unless proper care is taken from the inception.

  11. Almaz,you are absolutely right but you have to have highly qualified persons namely experts on QA, QC which are Quality management tools to scrutinise the whole drug research and development process under the microscope.Is n´t it?


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