L.E.A.F. Pharmaceuticals LLC, a US-based global pharmaceutical company, has announced it is establishing a subsidiary in Rwanda, headquartered in Kigali.

The parent firm is located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, USA. Its stated mission is to discover, develop and commercialise innovative and safe therapies for cancer.

The company expects to focus on establishing Rwanda as a hub for biotechnology Research and Development (R&D) as well as pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa.

The Kigali company will work to attract and retain highly skilled biotechnology scientists and clinical researchers from Africa and beyond, in a quest to discover and develop innovative medicines against diseases that predominantly afflict the health of the African population, according to a statement.

L.E.A.F. Rwanda will partner with L.E.A.F. Pharmaceuticals to facilitate advanced skills transfer to the continent, for long-term sustainability of a robust biotechnology industry in Africa.

“Historically, innovative lifesaving medicines have taken too long to reach the African population, if at all. A key component of L.E.A.F. Rwanda’s mission is to focus on expeditiously making available such medicines to the African population,” Founder, President, and CEO of L.E.A.F. Pharmaceuticals, Dr Clet Niyikiza, said in the statement.

Since the pharmaceutical company began operations in August 2014, it has filed nearly a dozen patent applications to protect its intellectual property.

The new company in partnership with L.E.A.F. Pharmaceuticals, anticipates making available its first anticancer medicine in Africa starting in 2019, it said.