Riyadh: King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre (KFSHRC) is set to host the Advanced Therapies Forum from June 23 to 24 in Riyadh. The forum serves as a collaborative platform, bringing together 30 representatives from government organizations and academic institutions, offering industrial partners the opportunity to showcase their research and explore partnership opportunities with healthcare institutions. This initiative aims to transform the Kingdom into a leading hub for advanced therapies in the region, spanning from early development to licensing.

The forum's objectives include fostering collaboration between academic healthcare institutions, industry players, funding agencies, investors, regulators, and government agencies. It aims to increase the number of clinical trials in T-cell therapy and gene therapy, enabling patients in the Kingdom to access these novel treatments. Moreover, it offers industrial partners, including pharmaceutical companies of all sizes, opportunities to explore and initiate clinical research at KFSHRC.

The forum will include 15 keynote speeches, over 30 presentations of projects currently under development by industry leaders, five panel discussions, and numerous discussion sessions to develop a shared vision for the future of advanced therapies in the Kingdom. It will also focus on localizing the technology for manufacturing cell and gene therapies. Attendees will include scientists, physicians, healthcare leaders, investors, and industry partners.

Since 2020, KFSHRC has revived hope for patients who previously had no treatment options by treating over 120 patients with genetically modified immune cells, beginning with the successful treatment of the first child in the region using CAR T-cell therapy.

Recently, the hospital successfully administered advanced gene therapy to eight patients with hereditary hemophilia, representing about 10% of participants in a clinical trial for a gene therapy approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This novel therapy has proven effective in raising the deficient clotting factor to levels that enable patients to live their daily lives without the need for preventive treatment, achieved through one dose, marking a significant transformation in the quality of life for both the patients and their families.

The forum comes at a time when gene and cell therapies are witnessing significant global advancements, with more than 30 genetically modified gene and cell therapies expected to be approved for clinical use by 2024. The global market for cell and gene therapies is anticipated to grow tremendously, surpassing the traditional drug market and reaching over $50 billion annually by 2027. Additionally, more than two million patients are expected to benefit from T-cell therapy over the next decade, with over a thousand clinical trials currently in development worldwide.

It is noteworthy that King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre has been ranked first in the Middle East and Africa and 20th globally, in the list of the world’s top 250 Academic Medical Centres for the second consecutive year and recognized as the most valuable healthcare brand in the Kingdom and the Middle East, according to the 2024 Brand Finance rankings. Additionally in the same year, it was ranked among the world's best 250 hospitals by Newsweek magazine