This case traces the establishment of Botanical Extracts (BE) as a manufacturer of artemisinin, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) for malaria in East Africa. After providing background on the disease and its epidemiology and history, the case delves into the malaria eradication and control efforts of the past 50 years, with emphasis on treatment with anti-malarials. It describes how artemisinin made the transition from a traditional Chinese medicine to Novartis’ largest pharmaceutical product by volume. The case presents background information on the artemisinin industry, with emphasis on the WHO, Novartis, artemisinin extractors, and Artemisia farmers. The case details the founding of BE, its role in the ACT industry, and the complex supply chain for ACTs from the cultivation of the raw material to the delivery of ACTs as well as the public private partnership that was driving the manufacturing and delivery of ACTs. The case ends by describing the challenges faced by BE in June 2008, asking how best the company should move forward.
Teaching Note available through Harvard Business Publishing.
The Artemisia Plant and Cultivation. Image A Source: Advanced Bio-Extracts. Image B Source: Farmer in Central Kenya, June 2008. (Exhibit 7 from "Investing in Global Health: Botanical Extracts Ltd." case.)
Learning Objectives: To understand 1) the challenges of manufacturing necessary healthcare commodities for a populace that is unable to afford them, 2) how risk is distributed among actors in public-private partnerships, and 3) how investment in health commodities in developing countries can promote sustainable economic development.
Keywords: Public-private partnerships, pharmaceutical supply chains, malaria eradication and control, health commodity manufacturing