Building on the ongoing efforts of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) in spearheading Abu Dhabi’s healthcare ecosystem, AstraZeneca, a science-led biopharmaceutical and one of the top 10 biopharma companies globally, and G42 Healthcare, an AI-powered healthcare company, have signed an agreement to locally manufacture innovative pharmaceuticals in Abu Dhabi.

The agreement outlines collaboration in four key areas, including localisation of manufacturing, research and development, innovation and sustainability at a global scale. The agreement cements the emirate’s position as a hub for research and innovation in life sciences and is the latest in a series of longstanding partnerships with key players in the pharmaceutical industry.

In the presence of His Excellency Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman of DoH, Pascal Soriot, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer at AstraZeneca, His Excellency Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of DoH, and Peng Xiao, Group Chief Executive Officer at G42, the partnership was confirmed through the signing of a five-year agreement by Ashish Koshy, Chief Executive Officer of G42 Healthcare, and Pelin Incesu, Area Vice President, Middle East and Africa at AstraZeneca.

An esteemed delegation representing various government bodies witnessed the signing, including Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and Abu Dhabi Investment Office.

Creating a transformative shift in the traditional healthcare paradigm in Abu Dhabi, the agreement contributes to the ongoing efforts to establish a competitive knowledge economy by unlocking the potential of the UAE’s national capabilities. In reflection of Abu Dhabi’s robust healthcare infrastructure, G42 Healthcare and AstraZeneca outlined a multi-year comprehensive process to manufacture innovative drugs in Abu Dhabi.

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

As the UAE embarks on an ambitious journey for the next 50 years, the agreement cements Abu Dhabi’s position as a hub for research and innovation in life sciences and is the latest in a series of longstanding partnerships with key players in the pharmaceutical industry. Through the supervision of similar milestone agreements, DoH seeks to play a critical role in the UAE’s knowledge-based economy through the creation of unique jobs that require high-skill workers and human capital. In line with the We the UAE 2031 plan, the agreement is expected to attract the best talents in the field of medicine, while supporting the UAE’s positioning amongst the top 10 countries in healthcare.  

His Excellency Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, said: “Under the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership, our country continues to be a strong proponent of research and innovation as part of our ongoing efforts to bolster the healthcare industry. Abu Dhabi continues to lead on critical research with the support of international partners to explore the sustainability and resilience of the global healthcare sector while ensuring the delivery of quality healthcare for patients. One common ingredient across all of our partnerships is a unified vision that is ambitious at scale and bold in goals.

“The localisation and manufacturing of medicine in Abu Dhabi is the real translation of our Made in Abu Dhabi 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. While we partner with prestigious pharmaceutical bodies across the globe, we aim to maintain the rapid advancement of our pioneering healthcare model powered by an agile and futuristic ecosystem. We are pleased to witness the fruit of our collaborative efforts as we attract global players such as AstraZeneca, who chose Abu Dhabi for their innovative research projects.”

Sameh ElFangary, Cluster President for GCC and Pakistan at AstraZeneca, said: “AstraZeneca is 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. I’m confident that this partnership will contribute greatly to advancing a sustainable health ecosystem that enables transforming the patient outcomes.”

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. The Department of Health's Research Registry for Covid-19, established as a unified platform to support global R&D efforts to combat the virus, received more than 376 scientific papers in 2021 and 67 Abu Dhabi facilities were licensed for healthcare research. Today, there are over 400 clinical research trials under way in the emirate.

Ashish Koshy said: “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.

In a continuous bid to advance healthcare on all fronts, Abu Dhabi is set to develop one of the largest pharmaceutical storage facilities. Due to go into operation soon, the state-of-the-art facility will contribute to the emirate’s life science efforts in the provision of world-class, end-to-end and temperature-controlled solutions for the transportation of pharmaceuticals.

In recent years, DoH has established key collaborations with renowned healthcare organisations in an effort to expand knowledge and experience sharing. Through an MoU signing earlier this year, Abu Dhabi has been home to AstraZeneca’s real-world evidence study on Evusheld, a pre-exposure treatment for immunocompromised patients. Adding another layer to this partnership, DoH joined AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst network to enhance digital healthcare in Abu Dhabi and improve patient experience and outcomes.