Officials from Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) and LIFE Pharma have today [Wednesday 17 September] celebrated a ground-breaking ceremony, marking the beginning of construction of the first pharmaceutical research and manufacturing plant in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) region to produce anti-cancer drugs.
Over the next five years, LIFE Pharma, which is part of VPS Healthcare, plans to invest AED 587 million (around USD 160 million) in the new Kizad plant.
The facility, which will be the first in Kizad to manufacture pharmaceutical products, will be a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical centre of excellence, combing latest technologies and world class expertise to contribute to the discovery of new cancer therapies.
By setting up a centre of excellence, LIFE Pharma – together with the UAE Ministry of Health (MOH) – aims to establish Abu Dhabi and the UAE on the world map of medical research. The centre will follow international standards in line with globally recognised organisations, such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.
The new centre will occupy a 1.7 million-square foot plot of land in Kizad’s pharmaceutical and healthcare cluster and will contain four production facilities. Alongside the cancer control and research facility, the other three will produce vaccines, sterile injections and oral solid dosage to be used in the treatment of illnesses, such as hepatitis and influenza.
“We are very pleased to see our plans for a new research and manufacturing centre progressing. The new plant will be a game changer for the local and regional pharma industry. Kizad is a perfect location to enhance our production palette and continue our ambitions to develop high quality products to drive improvements, especially in the treatment of cancer patients”, said Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Managing Director, VPS Healthcare, at the ground-breaking ceremony.
Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kizad added: “Today marks the beginning of a new era in Abu Dhabi’s and the UAE’s pharmaceutical landscape. According to Alpen Capital, the GCC healthcare market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 12% to USD 69.4 billion by 2018 from an estimated USD 39.4 billion in 2013.
By offering cutting edge infrastructure and unprecedented intermodal connectivity, Kizad will provide LIFE Pharma with an excellent business platform to cater for this growing market.”
Dev Kumar Singh, President, LIFE Pharma, concluded: “Alongside the necessary infrastructure, we were looking for a location that provides us with excellent market access. Kizad’s comprehensive transportation network and close proximity to Khalifa Port will give us the opportunity to expand our brand on a local and international level.”
Besides the GCC region and Africa, LIFE Pharma will export through Khalifa Port to markets in Asia, Europe, as well as North and South America. LIFE Pharma has also established global marketing and distribution relationships with well-known business partners, including Sandoz, Sanofi, Waymade, Cardinal, Septa, Protek, Eurofarma, Pramit, Lupin, Jubilant and Sagent.
The oncology facility will be the first of the four facilities to be set up and is scheduled to be completed by Q4 2015 and operational in the following year.