AstraZeneca, a science-led biopharmaceutical and one of the top 10 biopharma companies globally, has signed a strategic partnership agreement with G42 Healthcare, an AI-powered healthcare company, to locally manufacture innovative drugs in Abu Dhabi.

The binding agreement focuses on collaboration in four key areas including localizing innovative industries, research and development, innovation and sustainability at a global scale.

Building on the ongoing efforts of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) in spearheading Abu Dhabi's healthcare ecosystem, the agreement cements the emirate's position as a hub for research and innovation in life sciences.

It is the latest in a series of longstanding partnerships with key players in the pharmaceutical industry.

The agreement was signed by Ashish Koshy, Chief Executive Officer of G42 Healthcare and Pelin Incesu, Area Vice President, Middle East and Africa at AstraZeneca, in the presence of Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of DoH, Pascal Soriot, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer at AstraZeneca, Dr Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of DoH, and Peng Xiao, Group Chief Executive Officer at G42.

It is in line with the National Strategy for Industry and Advanced Technology and the Make it in the Emirates initiative, which was launched by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology to enhance the UAE's business environment and position as an attractive destination for local and global industrial investors, said G42 Healthcare in a statement.

It also supports the growth and competitiveness of national industries, innovation and adoption of advanced technologies, and the UAE's position as a global hub for future industries.

The partnership factors in the Abu Dhabi's Industrial Strategy in doubling the size of the manufacturing sector by 2031.

In its essence, the agreement will expand Abu Dhabi's footprint in life science research and development as well as enable innovation across all streams of healthcare, it stated.

All parties will collaborate closely to boost exports as well as deliver cutting-edge science and activities supporting the provision of life changing medication to patients in the UAE. In line with international best practices, the partnership seeks to develop sustainable solutions for healthcare changes while achieving a balance between economic growth and sustainability, it added.

On the agreement, Sameh ElFangary, Cluster President for GCC and Pakistan at AstraZeneca, said: "We are honoured to be a long-term, trusted partner of the UAE in bringing innovative healthcare locally, and we applaud Abu Dhabi's ambition to become a regional life sciences hub."

"We are now taking our comprehensive existing partnership with G42 Healthcare to new heights, accelerating it across local manufacturing, research, innovation and sustainability," he noted.

Dr Al Kaabi said the localization and manufacturing of medicine in Abu Dhabi is the real translation of our 'Made in the UAE campaign – which is a cornerstone for sustainable development across all sectors.

"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. Research in all its form remains a core driving force to all our ambitions, as we continue to cement Abu Dhabi's position as a leader in innovative healthcare and life sciences," he noted.

The partnership further establishes Abu Dhabi as a powerhouse of medical research and innovation on the international stage.

In 2021, the emirate doubled its capabilities to develop scientific and clinical research – more research projects in the year in comparison to the previous five years. Today, there are over 400 clinical research trials under way in the Emirate.

Koshy said: "At G42 Healthcare, we are confident in the potential of our continuing partnership with AstraZeneca which holds a robust promise for the UAE healthcare sector, primed to become a global hub for life science research and innovation."

"This strategic collaboration will accelerate innovation across local manufacturing and allow us to explore greater possibilities in clinical research, to deliver life-changing treatments to patients in the UAE and across the region. At the core of this partnership is our will to foster sustainable manufacturing capabilities and driving innovation at the global level, as we collectively envision better healthcare for all," he added.

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