Malta: A healthy location for the pharmaceutical industry - Pharmaceutical Executive


Malta: A healthy location for the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceutical Executive


Dino Mangion, Medichem Plant Manager
When asked if Malta is curbing its national trajectory by favoring generics manufacturing, Finance Minister Fenech disagrees, and points, convincingly, to the island's newest investment in innovation: the Life Sciences Park.

The facility will be the site of advanced research laboratories in medicine, genetics, and biotechnology. It will house offices and common spaces for the exchange of ideas. It will accommodate a business incubation center for scientific enterprise. It will be the nascence, in Malta, of a veritable biotechnology industry.

As may be expected, Malta Enterprise has a strong hand in the Park's formulation. When chairman Camilleri extrapolates some of the intended inhabitants of the facility, he mentions research institutes, technological firms, multinational startups, education centers, medical training centers, and formulation and testing companies, among others. An ambitious list, to be sure.

According to Camilleri, the site will also "enhance the possibility of cluster investment, whereby a number of companies can be attracted through the presence of another company," working in a similar line. Finance Minister Fenech advocates the Park as a setting where scientifically minded youths, and seasoned researchers, can cultivate their studies without having to leave the country.

Of course, while the Life Sciences Park may be the first aggregate, national approach to stimulate pharmaceutical advancement, it is not the only game in town. Take, for example, the Institute of Cellular Pharmacology (ICP), a research-based company that investigates plant extracts and their possible beneficence in human and animal applications. To date, their work has produced almost 30 theses and over 40 patents.

Patrizio Allegrucci, Combino Pharm Plant Manager
ICP chose Malta for operations because they believe that, on the island, "Small is beautiful." To extrapolate: "Malta is a small village by global scale, yet it has all the amenities needed to undertake research found in much bigger states. All the tools needed to support research activities are found in a village square." The group finds that the proximity of these amenities "makes progress very rapid."

As other pharma players do, ICP invites investors to the island. In a place where small is beautiful, research, too, is experiencing a beautiful surge.


Malta boasts a celebrated medical history, from the time of the Crusades. Today, Malta aims to draw to its facilities international patients seeking adept therapy outside of their own country, as the government advocates Health Tourism.

St. James Hospital—headed by Dr. Josie Muscat, president and chairman—is leading this impetus. Muscat notes that St. James Hospital offers an inspiring range of medical services and facilities, and it is furnished with state-of-the-art equipment, including numerous advanced surgical instruments, and a superlative laboratory. "In short," Muscat says, "anything a patient requires is available at St. James."

St. James Hospital
Moreover, when foreign patients seek treatment at the St. James complex, they find not only cutting-edge resources, but also a wealth of comforting services. Muscat lauds the nearby hotels and Malta's welcoming atmosphere. The small island also offers accessible cultural attractions to compliment a patient's rehabilitation period—"making medical tourism true to its name."

Muscat sees immense potential in Maltese medical tourism. The facilities, certainly, are already there, and the industry is starting slowly to convalesce as foreigners become assured of Malta's prowess in healthcare. Muscat is resolute, saying, "We are determined to make our island once again the hospital of the Mediterranean." Already a rising global player in pharmaceuticals, Malta aspires to lead in the field of healthcare as well.


When interviewed, Malta Enterprise executive chairman Camilleri had some closing thoughts regarding the national pharmaceuticals sector. His message is uncomplicated, and sincere: "We are a small country, but we are quick to deliver, efficient, and offer specific competitive advantages to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry. The vast majority of our foreign projects come to Malta, and then grow and consolidate through Malta." Maltese investors have and will attest to his words—and foreigners contentedly flourish praise on Malta.

Malta too flourishes. It constantly advances its ambitions: Already a generics hub, it will also become a true research hub. Already satisfying the healthcare needs of its own, it will also satisfy those of the world. Its past and prospective initiatives, under the umbrella of the Government's Vision 2015, pave the way.

Small is genuinely beautiful on this Mediterranean island. The aims of its people, certainly, are cosmic. These are Malta's parting words.


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Source: Pharmaceutical Executive,
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