G42 Healthcare, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi technology company Group 42, and the UK's AstraZeneca have signed an agreement to manufacture pharmaceutical products in the emirate, positioning the UAE capital as a "powerhouse" in international medical research.
The five-year partnership, which is backed by Abu Dhabi's Department of Health (DoH), will see co-operation in research and development, the localisation of manufacturing innovative products and promoting sustainable practices, boosting the emirate's status as a hub for life sciences, according to a statement from the Abu Dhabi Media Office on Tuesday.
The agreement, aimed at helping deliver top-of-the-line health care to patients, was signed by Ashish Koshy, chief executive of G42 Healthcare, and Pelin Incesu, area vice president for the Middle East and Africa at Cambridge-based AstraZeneca.
At the ceremony were Abdulla bin Mohammed, chairman of the DoH, Peng Xiao, group chief executive of G42, and Pascal Soriot, executive director and chief executive of AstraZeneca.
This will help boost the local manufacturing industry and contribute to the growth of the "Made in Abu Dhabi" campaign, a "cornerstone" for sustainable development across all sectors, said Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary of the DoH.
"Abu Dhabi continues to lead on critical research with the support of international partners to explore the sustainability and resilience of the global healthcare sector while ensuring the delivery of quality health care for patients," he said.
"As a result of the sectors’ robust growth potential, international appetite and investment opportunities across the biopharmaceutical and healthcare value-chain continue to emerge in Abu Dhabi."
Boosting the UAE’s manufacturing sector and adoption of advanced technologies are among the central planks of the UAE’s economic diversification strategy. Health care, in particular, is being given special focus.
Abu Dhabi aims to become a destination of choice for clinical trials and collaborative health care research. It has a robust infrastructure and legislation that aims to attract investments from the industry's biggest companies.
The capital has a goal of capturing the world's first population-wide genetic library, pioneer connected health and build on previous collaborations with pharmaceutical majors, including AstraZeneca and Pfizer, in medical research.
In September, the government launched a new programme of funding that aims to support research and innovation to fight life-threatening diseases.
In 2021, Abu Dhabi emirate doubled its capacity to develop scientific and clinical research, with more research projects during the year compared to the previous five years.
The collaboration between G42 Healthcare and AstraZeneca aims to develop sustainable solutions for health care advancement while achieving a balance between economic growth and sustainability.
It will also expand Abu Dhabi’s footprint in life science research and development, plus enable innovation across all streams of the health care sector.
"At the core of this partnership is our will to foster sustainable manufacturing capabilities and driving innovation at the global level," Mr Koshy said.
G42 Healthcare is a unit of G42, which also has G42 Cloud, geospatial intelligence company Bayanat and data centre services provider Khazna under its umbrella. It is tapping into the capabilities of artificial intelligence and other emerging technology to develop a world-class health care sector in the UAE and beyond.
London-listed AstraZeneca, which developed one of the vaccines for Covid-19, is among the top pharmaceutical companies globally. It reported revenue of more than $37.4 billion in 2021 and has the eighth-largest market capitalisation at about $217 billion as of Tuesday, according to data from Companies Market Cap.
Abu Dhabi and AstraZeneca already have existing collaborations. In August, the emirate announced that Sheikh Khalifa Medical City will host a study into the effectiveness of an antibody therapy created by AstraZeneca, which will run over 15 months.