Skip to main content


Freshfields advises on a series of transactions to form $750m biopharma platform

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (‘Freshfields’) has advised on the creation of a pan-African biopharmaceutical platform, formed through the acquisition and combination of Adwia Pharmaceuticals (‘Adwia’), an Egyptian generic drugs manufacturer, and Celon Laboratories (‘Celon’), an Indian oncology and critical care specialist.

Freshfields advised on the establishment of the platform by the three founding investors: Development Partners International (through its ADP III fund), CDC Group, the UK’s publicly owned impact investor, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, who joined forces on the ground-breaking deal. The three investors have committed an initial $250m of capital that has been used to fund the acquisitions of Adwia and Celon.

The newly created platform will improve the delivery of essential and affordable specialty generic pharmaceuticals across the African continent. This will be supported by up to an additional $500m fund raise, to fund a strong pipeline of acquisitions, assist in new drug development, and establishment of new distribution channels.

Rob Cant, partner and co-head of Freshfields’ Africa Group, commented: “Advising on high profile, extremely complicated, multi-jurisdictional transactions such as this is further evidence of our being the firm that the leading investors turn to on the mandates that matter most to them, wherever they are in the world.

“Our key role in the establishment of this platform is also another wonderful achievement for our cross-border Africa practice that continues to go from strength-to-strength.”

Freshfields’ pre-eminence in African M&A and private equity is built on the foundations of advising on the continent’s largest and most complicated M&A deals, including recent roles advising Occidental on the acquisition of the Anadarko assets (and subsequent sale of some of the African assets to Total), and PepsiCo on the acquisition of Pioneer Foods. The firm is recognised in the Mergermarket and Thomson Reuters league tables as the highest-ranked international firm by deal value for African M&A between Q1 2019-Q3 2020.

Gabriel Mpubani, who co-heads the firm’s Africa group alongside Rob, added: “Our capability on Africa mandates goes well beyond M&A, and we are grateful to our clients and StrongerTogether law firm relationships that underpin our continued market leadership across a wide range of practices, including capital markets, projects and disputes."

The Freshfields team which advised on the establishment of the pharmaceutical platform and on the acquisitions of Adwia and Celon, was led by partner and co-head of the firm’s Africa Group Rob Cant, with André van Zyl Gow as lead associate (both Dubai). Tax advice was provided by Peter Clements (Partner, London), advice on employment and incentivisation arrangements with the platform’s management was provided by Andrew Murphy (Partner, London), and merger control advice was provided by Rafique Bachour (Partner, Brussels).


Notes for Editors:

About Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a global law firm with a long track record of successfully advising the world's leading national and multinational corporations and financial institutions on ground breaking and business-critical challenges. Our team of more than 2,800 lawyers and other legal professionals delivers global results from our 28 offices worldwide. Our commitment, local and multinational expertise and business know-how means our clients can rely on us when it matters most.