GE Healthcare is entering into a vaccine collaboration with the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) under the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, SaudiVax and King Saud University, to enable vaccine self-sufficiency and pandemic preparedness in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
The NICDP is leading the development of Saudi Arabia’s biopharmaceutical industry and GE Healthcare has been commissioned to undertake a vaccine feasibility study to explore and recommend a potential model for overall vaccine self-sufficiency. In addition, SaudiVax and its partner PnuVax, with the support of GE Healthcare, has started a design study aimed at establishing a multipurpose vaccine and monoclonal antibody manufacturing facility in Riyadh to help develop a fully-fledged life sciences industry in the Kingdom and potentially create more than 1,500 new jobs.
The three partners are also working together with King Saud University to drive skills development through an innovative bioprocess education program collaboration for technicians and specialized scientists, research and development feeding the pipeline of future SaudiVax vaccines and a clinical trial unit, allowing future biopharmaceutical drugs to be tested before review and approval by the Saudi Food & Drug Administration to enter the local market.
Eng. Khalid Al Salem, President, NICDP, said: “The strategic vision in exploring the potential for a vaccine & monoclonal antibody manufacturing facility and a bioscience park in the Kingdom is firmly aligned with the healthcare sector priorities outlined in Saudi Vision 2030 and the new Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources mandate to diversify the economy through innovative industries. In addition, NICDP is working in close collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Health on addressing drug sustainability issues and national security aspects. This will support the government’s goal to address the incidence of lifestyle diseases, create job opportunities for medical and pharma students and other professionals, thus establishing the Kingdom as a hub for biosciences. GE Healthcare’s design and feasibility study will set the platform for these projects that catalyze economic diversification through high-tech biopharmaceutical manufacturing.”
Currently, the Saudi healthcare market is more than $25 billion, growing at 12 percent annually. The Kingdom’s pharmaceutical market alone reached more than $6 billion, and growing at 11 percent annually, is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (1).
David Carr, President and CEO of GE Healthcare, Saudi Arabia said: “Building local manufacturing for vaccines serves both the needs of the Kingdom and surrounding countries. The goal is not only to provide the technology and ability to enable self-sufficiency and ensure a faster pandemic response, but also to drive diversification of the economy by establishing a new bio-tech industry and take the country a step closer to its 2030 vision.”
(1): IMS “Market Prognosis” 2014, Frost & Sullivan “Analysis of the Global Biosimilars Market”, 2014, McKinsey “KSA Biologics report”, 2013.
About National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP)
Through its Industrial Clusters program (IC), the Saudi Arabian government is focused on attracting and supporting foreign investment in five key industrial areas; Minerals & Metals, Automotive, Plastics & Packaging, Pharma & Biotech and Solar Energy. The vision is to create sustainable and profitable industries that capitalize on the country's many advantages. NICDP's development plan objectives include: improving the standard of living; developing human resources; increasing the recruitment of Saudi nationals; diversification of the economy; ensuring balanced regional development; and enhancing the competitiveness of the economy and Saudi products.
The concept of SaudiVax is the creation of an indigenous, world class, state-of-the art Halal vaccine and biopharmaceutical capability to serve the needs of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and OIC Member State Countries. SaudiVax wants to make Saudi Arabia self-sufficient for a number of vital products and, in concert with its partner PnuVax and KSU, to have the capability to respond quickly to emerging localized issues. SaudiVax will employ a significant number of highly qualified and skilled Saudi Nationals in support of the Saudi Vision 2030.
About King Saud University
Founded in 1957, King Saud University is Saudi Arabia's premier University, and one of the top tertiary institutions in the region. With a wide range of colleges, advanced research centers, and collaborations with distinguished researchers around the globe, KSU is equipping the nation's future leaders. KSU is building the needed capacities to fulfill the establishment of the full value chain to sustain successful vaccine localization in the Kingdom. KSU is building a vaccine Research & Development lab, a clinical trial unit, and an educational curriculum for technicians and specialized scientist.
About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare (gehealthcare.com) provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world. GE works on things that matter - great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients.