Global pharmaceutical firm joins Rwanda in cancer fight

Rwanda could soon be one of the first countries in Africa to venture into clinical trial tests and research for cancer and other diagnostic diseases.
Gatare and Mulroy address journalists on Wednesday. (Timothy Kisambira)
Gatare and Mulroy address journalists on Wednesday. (Timothy Kisambira)

Rwanda could soon be one of the first countries in Africa to venture into clinical trial tests and research for cancer and other diagnostic diseases.

This follows an exploratory visit by Robert Mulroy, the CEO of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company involved in developing and preparing innovative medicines for the treatment of serious diseases, amongst them cancer.

Mulroy was in the country on a three-day visit that ended Thursday, during which he held meetings with top government officials, including the CEO of Rwanda Development Board, Francis Gatare.

He also interacted with senior officials from the Ministry of Health to discuss key possible areas of partnership, most especially in the areas of clinical research tests.

Speaking to The New Times after his meeting with  Gatare, Mulroy said his firm carries out  research with the hope of introducing better treatment for people across the globe and was looking into ways of partnering with the Rwandan government.

“We have been discussing opportunities about how we could expand our research to include Rwanda and Africa,” Mulroy said.

He added that they had had positive discussions and were looking forward to exploring opportunities for partnerships.

He said they had been attracted to Rwanda by the positive climate for partnership and that the ties would help improve  the health sector.

“We visited the cancer centre at Butaro and were pleased with what we saw. We saw a strong foundation for cancer treatment and are committed to improving it further,” Mulroy added.

He disclosed that the government has also opened up opportunities of partnership in various sector.

Patrick Ndimubanzi, the Minister of State in charge of Public Health and Primary Healthcare, said they are looking forward to the collaboration.

The exploration by the pharmaceutical comes about the same time experts have been calling for the development of a multi-disciplinary approach for cancer management.

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