Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a global biotech hub following a $3.9 billion investment in the sector since 2021, according to a new study.

The report by Strategy& Middle East, part of the PwC network, titled ‘Accelerating Saudi Arabia’s Biotechnology Sector’, highlights the research and development initiatives that have been funded in the industry.

The analysis comes amidst reports that merger and acquisition activity in pharmaceutical and life sciences in the US could reach between $225 billion and $275 billion in 2023. With state-of-the-art labs and initiatives such as the Saudi Human Genome Program and the Saudi Network for Clinical Trials, the report states the country is well-placed to develop a leading biotech cluster over the coming decade.

“The health, social and economic benefits of a thriving biotech sector in Saudi Arabia are significant. Biotechnologies, with their ability to develop groundbreaking technologies and medical products, can revolutionise not just the national non-oil economy, but everything from the chemicals industry to agriculture, food security, and human health,” said Walid Tohme, Partner with Strategy& Middle East.

However, to sustain growth in biotechnology, the report states that policymakers and the private sector should employ four enablers to gain momentum: more public and private funding in commercialisation; expand the human capital and talent pipeline; develop infrastructure; create a strong framework of regulation and incentives.

(Writing by Bindu Rai, editing by Brinda Darasha)