Building on the success of the previous collaboration between Department of Health - Abu Dhabi, the regulator of healthcare sector in the emirate, and globally-leading healthcare company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in securing innovative COVID-19 treatment, Sotrovimab in the emirate, both organisations expanded their existing partnership to develop Real World Evidence (RWE) and capitalise on logistical processes related to Sotrovimab, a recently introduced COVID-19 medication. Abu Dhabi is the first jurisdiction globally to share real world evidence on the use of Sotrovimab in COVID-19 patients, following the treatment of more than 23,000 high-risk COVID-19 patients.

Through this collaboration, Abu Dhabi was the first city in the world to receive Sotrovimab, following emergency use authorisation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2021. Abu Dhabi patients were therefore the first in the world to receive this COVID-19 medication, outside of the clinical trials.

The unified goals were translated through the signing of a Declaration of Collaboration that was signed by H.E. Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of DoH and James Greenhalgh, Senior Vice President, GSK Growth Emerging Markets.

Earlier this year, DoH, with the support of GSK, secured innovative COVID-19 medication, Sotrovimab, for the local healthcare sector. This effective treatment for high-risk COVID-19 patients was secured through Rafed, the UAE’s primary group purchasing organisation (GPO) for the supply chain of essential medical equipment. Since the onset of the pandemic, Abu Dhabi has led an effective human-centred response based on collaboration and innovation with leading regional and international pharmaceutical companies. The successful partnership between DoH, GSK and Rafed supported Abu Dhabi in turning the tide against COVID-19 with the treatment of over 23,000 patients in a span of four months. Being amongst the first group of countries to attain the innovative medication, Abu Dhabi’s distinguished response to the COVID-19 pandemic motivated countries worldwide to accelerate access to the breakthrough treatment.

The recently signed agreement aims to develop real world evidence and capitalise on logistical processes related to Sotrovimab, in support of regulatory decision-making and clinical trials. Additionally, the emirate will contribute to the international healthcare community through transferring lessons learned during this period and donating breakthrough treatment, Sotrovimab, as part of Abu Dhabi’s humanitarian efforts. The Declaration of Collaboration states that the emirate will exploit its existing logistics network in order to supply and distribute Sotrovimab and essential medical equipment through Rafed and Abu Dhabi International Airport. Furthermore, parties agreed to extend their collaboration to develop real world evidence and scientific research on additional innovative projects with a focus on epidemiology, vaccinations, and oncology and pulmonology treatments.

H.E. Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi said: “We are excited for the opportunities and achievements that we are confident will come about from our partnership with leading pharmaceutical organisation, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Both the public and private sectors have worked in seamless harmony in the last couple of years and achieved great outcomes that resulted in Abu Dhabi marking its place on global listings and rankings. While the UAE continues to exhibit exemplary leadership through its response to the pandemic, we are committed to establishing a leading life science ecosystem in Abu Dhabi by driving clinical research and improving access to treatments and medical products.”

James Greenhalgh, Senior Vice President, GSK Growth Emerging Markets, stated: “Abu Dhabi has great potential to be a fast-rising hub in healthcare, life sciences and biopharmaceuticals. For decades, GSK has helped contribute to the health and well-being of Abu Dhabi’s citizens, and our new Declaration of Collaboration with the Department of Health enables us to increase our partnership in the emirate to further help the health of its people”.

Rashed Saif Al-Qubaisi, Chief Executive Officer of Rafed said: “As Rafed expands its role domestically, we are proud to be of support to UAE’s international initiatives and partner with a global leader like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). We are certain that through our joined efforts, the emirate’s healthcare sector will reach even greater heights.”

Given Abu Dhabi's advanced infrastructure and through public-private partnerships like the Hope Consortium, the emirate represents a complete supply chain solution to address demand planning, sourcing, training, and digital technology infrastructure, and facilitate vaccine and treatment availability across the world.

Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody treatment delivered through intravenous therapy. Sotrovimab can be used to treat adults and children above the age of 12 who meet certain criteria and are at risk of progressing to severe COVID-19, as per protocols that have been developed by the National Scientific Committee.