Oman’s MHD to establish pharma manufacturing facility at SOHAR Free Zone

By Salma C, Intern Reporter
  • Follow author on
Sohar International
Representational Image

One of the largest and most successful privately-owned business houses in the Gulf region, Oman-based Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC (MHD) will establish the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s first-of-its-kind pharmaceutical manufacturing facility at the SOHAR Free Zone.

MHD has signed an agreement with Mr. Ali Moosa al Bulushi, National Bank of Oman (NBO), and SOHAR Free Zone for Penicillin General Integrated Industrial Company (Pen-G).

Under the agreement, Pen-G will be owned by MHD LLC and Mr. Ali Moosa Al Bulushi. The joint venture will set up a state-of-the-art fermentation plant for the manufacture of major pharmaceutical start-up materials in the SOHAR Freezone. The NBO will be the primary bank to finance the project.

The signing ceremony, held recently at Pen-G Head Office in Ghala, had Mr. Ali Moosa al Bulushi, Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Al Kharusi, Chief Executive Officer, MHD LLC, Mr. Abdullah Zahran Al Hinai, Chief Executive Officer, National Bank of Oman, and Mr. Omar bin Mahmood Al Mahrizi, Chief Executive Officer of SOHAR Freezone and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of SOHAR Port and other members of the executive and senior management of the four companies in attendance.

Commenting on the agreement, Mr. Mohammed al Kharusi stated that “As of 2020, the global pharmaceutical industry generated revenues of 1.27 trillion US dollars, representing significant growth over the past two decades. Our objective with Pen-G is twofold. First, we would like to officially put Oman on the world map for raw materials for start-up medicine and enter this lucrative industry, and second, we would like to further our goal of establishing ourselves as a key contributor to Oman Vision 2040 and, by extension, to the government’s national diversification efforts.”

“Furthermore, our location at the SOHAR Freezone, right next to the largest industrial port in the country, provides us with ready access to global trade routes between Asia and Europe for both acquisition of raw materials as well as export of our product,” Mr. Al Kharusi added.

The region’s first-of-its-kind Pen-G fermentation plant will initially have two blocks designed for the production of Penicillin-G and 6-APA (Amino Penicillanic Acid). These are the main start-up materials for the most widely used antibiotics, penicillin, and cephalosporins.

There are also plans to add another block to manufacture key start-up materials for Erythromycin. In addition, the plant is designed from the ground up to fully comply with the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) regulations, ensuring that all manufactured products are world-class.

Commenting on the Pen-G project, Mr. Ali Moosa Al Bulushi, Project Director and Program Manager stated that “This project is a core part of my constantly evolving dream to build value in Oman in the Pharma sector. Penicillin G represents value addition at the raw material stage of antibiotic medicine manufacturing – an area currently dominated by China. Once completely operational, this plant will cater to the demand for Penicillin GK raw material amounting to nearly 10 percent of the world’s consumption.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Omar bin Mahmood Al Mahrizi remarked that “The growth of the SOHAR pharma cluster is an important step forward in the development of the Port and Freezone with far-reaching benefits to the local community, both in terms of investment and access to the finished product. This pharma project, the second project after our animal vaccination facility, will add significant value to all three of our objectives. We are confident that the plant operated by Penicillin General Integrated Industrial Company will provide the impetus for further investment in the pharmaceutical industry and the potential for SOHAR to become the main hub for the industry in the region.”

Mr. Ali Moosa Al Bulushi

The creator of the project idea, Mr. Ali Moosa Al Bulushi is a proven, dynamic, multi-disciplined project director and program manager. Mr. Al Bulushi was a banker for two decades before entering the pharmaceutical business.

Related: Swiss pharma company Acino deepens its footprint in Saudi with new Jeddah office