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Thursday, 9 March 2023

Gulf, US players to boost local pharma manufacturing + more genetic screening labs

Gulf, US firms to build pharma manufacturing and screening labs: Government bodies signed agreements with international pharma firms including a Saudi and Emirati company to build pharma factories and diagnostic labs here, according to cabinet statements (here, here, and here).

#1- Gulf firms, Vacsera to build USD 10 mn medical supplies factory: UAE investment firm Scope, Saudi chemicals maker Oxide Chemicals, and state-owned vaccinemaker Vacsera will set up a JV to build, manage, and operate a factory for biodegradable syringes and other medical supplies. The factory will be built at a cost of USD 10 mn at Vacsera’s Sixth of October industrial complex.

#2- Screening for genetic disorders: US diagnostics firm PerkinElmer and its local agent HVD Life Sciences Egypt will partner with the government to build a beta thalassemia screening lab that the cabinet says will be the largest of its kind in the world. Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder that has high prevalence in the region. The lab will serve the government’s drive to expand mandatory medical screening for couples who marry. PerkinElmer will also look into working with the government on a pilot project to screen for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to help enable early detection and treatment of the disease, and present plans to develop the Health Ministry's newborn screening initiative and its central labs, including its genome lab.

#3- Manufacturing medical devices: PerkinElmer and HVD agreed with the government to conduct a feasibility study on assembling medical devices and packaging here for the local market. The companies will also consider setting up a factory to manufacture blotting paper used for screening for diseases. The two firms will look into the feasibility of using it for the newborn screening and pre-marriage thalassemia testing programs as well as exporting it to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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