UAE strengthens position as regional hub for global pharmaceuticals manufacturing

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The UAE can be a regional hub for global pharmaceuticals manufacturing, with innovation driving performance in the sector, the leaders of some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies heard at a briefing led by the UAE Government and supported by the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) – the world’s inaugural global gathering for the manufacturing community, bringing together leaders in business, government and civil society to shape a vision for the sector’s future.
The briefing, held in Strata, the composite aero-structures manufacturing facility based in Al Ain that is wholly owned by Mubadala Development Company PJSC, was led by His Excellency Dr Amin Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing at the Ministry of Health and Prevention. Strata was selected as the venue for the delegation to highlight the UAE’s progress in high-tech manufacturing, and identify ways for Government and industry to work together to invest in world-class pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities in the UAE.
 
His Excellency, Dr Amin Al Amiri, said: “Visiting one of the UAE’s most advanced manufacturers inspires other high-tech industries to consider the UAE as a destination for their regional manufacturing activities. As part of our broad health and economic agenda, the Ministry of Health and Prevention is committed to creating an enabling environment for continued investment by pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines, treatments and medical devices. These efforts are reinforced by GMIS which is creating an international platform to bring the world’s manufacturing communities together.”
The UAE Government is targeting the pharmaceuticals manufacturing sector for growth. As part of the Government’s economic diversification strategy for the UAE, the number of pharmaceutical facilities is expected to more than double, rising from 16 to 34 over the next five years.
 
Dr Al Amiri confirmed that the UAE’s strong infrastructure is capable of supporting pharmaceutical manufacturing, and this has been evident from the 15% growth of pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers from 2014 to 2016, producing almost 1,100 pharmaceutical products. Furthermore, 18 manufacturers have received their initial approvals, and it is expected that the total number of manufacturers will more than double to reach 34 facilities by 2020. Through the support of the Ministry of Health and Prevention, and by adopting a leading regulatory environment for the health sector in the UAE, 47 global pharmaceutical companies established a commercial presence in the country to serve the wider MENA region in 2015, and this is expected to grow by a further 12.5% in 2016. Since March of last year, the Ministry of Health and Prevention also supported the establishment of five new partnerships between global pharmaceutical companies and local manufacturers to produce 53 innovative pharmaceutical products.
 
Abu Dhabi-based VPS Healthcare, which operates a growing pipeline of hospitals and medical centres as well as a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant approved by International agencies including EMEA , GCC and TGA Australia in Jebel Ali in Dubai, is aligned with the Government’s call to strengthen the UAE’s pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity. VPS Healthcare is expanding the Jebel Ali plant and plans to open the GCC’s first pharmaceutical research and manufacturing plant at Khalifa Industrial Zone in Abu Dhabi to produce oncology products for global market. Following the tour of Strata, VPS Healthcare signed as a Strategic Partner for GMIS, which is being held in Abu Dhabi at the Paris-Sorbonne University from March 27-30, 2017, demonstrating the company’s commitment to suppor- ting sector growth regionally and globally, creating opportunities for employment, and aligning with the aims of Abu Dhabi’s industrial strategy.
 
Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, Founder and Managing Director of VPS Healthcare, said: “VPS recognises the importance of uniting leaders from developed and emerging markets, as well as diverse industries, including healthcare, to address common themes and seize new opportunities – which is why we were inspired to become a Strategic Partner for GMIS. Forging public-private cooperation is central in building the manufacturing base of the future. In the UAE, we are committed to building a regional pharmaceutical hub, drawing on the talent pool, strategic location and sustained Government drive towards innovation. VPS, as an integrated healthcare provider, is adopting new and innovative technologies and moving into Oncology manufacturing in our state-of-the-art facilities in Abu Dhabi. We believe that by bringing the world’s best manufacturing community to the UAE’s capital in March next year for the Summit, we can further support the growth and innovation of our industry globally and locally.”
Badr Al-Olama, CEO of Strata and member of the GMIS Organising Committee, welcomed the visit and said: “By hosting the delegation at Strata, we aimed to demonstrate how we have contributed to the UAE’s positioning as a global hub for aerospace.”
What we have learned over the years needs to be capitalised to support growth and success in other sectors, including pharmaceuticals which is targeted for growth by the UAE Government. The onboarding of VPS Healthcare as a Strategic Partner is key for GMIS because it is closely aligned with our focus on innovation and advanced manufacturing as enablers for regional and global transformation.”
 
The delegation included renowned companies such as Abbvie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Pfizer, Lundbeck, Abu Dhabi Medical Devices ADNIP, Reckitt Benckiser, Roche, BMS, Novo Nordisk, Gilead, GSK, Jansen, Merck, MSD, Medisal Pharmaceuticals, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Globalpharma, LIFEPharma, Julphar and WellPharma Medical Solutions.