Saudi MISA, Swiss pharma Novartis collaborate to advance healthcare innovations

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment (MISA) and Swiss multinational pharmaceutical corporation Novartis, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand the Kingdom’s biopharmaceutical capabilities.

Both entities will collaborate to expand local investment activities in areas of Cell and Gene (C&G) therapy, transfer of technologies, clinical research development, next-generation therapies to reduce the burden of treatment on Saudi Arabia’s national healthcare budget, and building local talent and capabilities.

The MoU includes the co-creation of Cell & Gene centers of excellence, implementation of a long-term strategic co-manufacturing plan, and an aim to reach 75 percent Saudization. The agreement builds on Novartis’ rapidly expanding footprint in Saudi Arabia, with the cumulative total contribution to the GDP of the corporation in the Kingdom predicted to reach $857 million by 2024.

HE Khalid Al Falih
HE Khalid Al Falih
Saudi Minister of Investment

“The MISA remains committed to ensuring that innovative investors can take advantage of emerging opportunities, particularly within our burgeoning healthcare and life sciences sector. As the Kingdom continues to diversify its economy through Vision 2030, our National Investment Strategy has made the Kingdom a stable and competitive destination, as doing business has become quicker, easier, and less costly than ever before, because of policy and regulatory reforms. I encourage more investors to explore the world of opportunity available in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Dr. Sara Althari, Managing Director of Biotech & Pharma and Advisor to the Minister of Investment, said that “This agreement illustrates the increasing confidence of leading healthcare and pharmaceutical corporations in the Kingdom’s local capabilities, as well as the lucrative investment opportunities available in the Kingdom’s growing biotechnology sector. Through partnerships like this, we are tapping into the immense potential of our healthcare ecosystem to harness innovation and deliver the highest quality care both locally and in the wider region.”

This MoU builds upon agreements signed over the past year between the Ministry and global leaders in the pharmaceutical sector, including Jannsen, AstraZeneca, GSK, and Roche, indicating a growing recognition among global pharma brands of the investment opportunities available in the Saudi life sciences sector.

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