Abu Dhabi's ADQ forms new life sciences holding company to focus on health and longevity

Arcera's manufacturing and packaging base includes seven sites in UAE, Switzerland, Ukraine, Estonia, South Africa, Turkey and Egypt

Arcera offers 2,000 branded medicines across a range of therapeutic areas. Ruel Pableo / The National
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Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company ADQ has consolidated its assets in the life sciences sector to create a new holding company that aims to focus on improving the quality and longevity of human life.

Arcera, which will have its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, includes ADQ's shareholdings in the Swiss pharmaceutical company Acino, Birgi Mefar Group (BMG) – a Turkish company that specialises in the manufacturing of sterile injectables and glass packaging, and the Egyptian pharma company Amoun.

Arcera offers 2,000 branded medicines across a range of therapeutic areas, addressing chronic conditions across neurology, gastroenterology, cardiovascular, pain relief and rheumatology and anti-infectives, ADQ said in a statement on Monday.

The company’s manufacturing and packaging base includes seven sites in the UAE, Switzerland, Ukraine, Estonia, South Africa, Turkey and Egypt.

It has a combined workforce of more than 6,500 people and sales and distribution in more than 90 countries.

Arcera is planning to double its revenue over the next five years through "value-accretive strategic acquisitions in key markets globally and forging high-impact global partnerships", ADQ said.

“By consolidating our life sciences companies under one umbrella, Arcera signifies a strategic evolution, unlocking substantial portfolio value and reinforcing our commitment to innovation, globalisation and digitisation, which are key growth levers in this industry," ‍said Hamad Al Hammadi, the deputy chief executive of ADQ.

"Arcera is positioned to be a significant contributor to Abu Dhabi's life sciences sector ... while aligning with the emirate's diversification goals.”

Developing the life sciences sector is part of the UAE's economic diversification strategy, which seeks to support the growth of non-oil industries, particularly those in the innovation space.

The UAE, which imports about 80 per cent of its pharmaceutical products, has been investing heavily in boosting its local manufacturing capabilities to reduce costs and ensure steady supplies.

The country's pharmaceutical market is expected to grow by 27 per cent between 2021 and 2025, as the country pushes to become a regional pharmaceutical centre, ADQ said in a white paper released in 2022.

The size of the local pharmaceutical market is expected to hit $4.7 billion in value by 2025, up three times from 2011, the report found.

The UAE also plans to grow its pharmaceutical export market to about $297 million by 2025, up 15 per cent from 2021.

ADQ, which has a broad portfolio of investments spanning sectors such as energy, utilities, food and agriculture, mobility and logistics, is boosting its healthcare and life sciences portfolio.

The company acquired Acino and Amoun in 2021, and BMG in 2022. ADQ also purchased a minority stake in the India-based Biocon Biologics, which specialises in developing, manufacturing and marketing cheaper biosimilars globally.

Arcera will team up with academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies and aims to lead advancements that address the needs of communities in the region and beyond, ADQ said.

“The growing need for high quality and effective medicines lends tremendous importance to building a global life sciences company like Arcera," said ‍Isabel Afonso, chief executive of Arcera.

"Arcera enables its businesses to accelerate growth plans and enhance integration, as well as further expand and develop capabilities. We are pursuing bold ambitions and working towards becoming a leading global life sciences company that fosters longer and healthier lives while creating value."

Updated: April 01, 2024, 5:30 PM