Wednesday 7 December 2022

Biosimilars...very high cost of production.

UAE’s biotechnology industry challenges in focus

DUBAI, November 20, 2014

DuBiotech, the biotechnology and research Park dedicated to facilitating and fostering growth of the UAE’s life sciences, conducted an event focused on the challenges of stimulating the biotechnology industry in the UAE.

Biosimilars, also knows as ‘follow-on biologics,’ was a key discussion topic as one of the fastest growing areas of biotechnology worldwide, said a statement.

They are medical products whose active drug substance is made by a living organism, it said.

Due to its composition, there are significant research and development cost involved in developing these medications and it is estimated that a biosimilar product costs from $75 million to $250 million to produce. It also takes six to seven years to develop to the point of sale.

The panellists agreed that governments and healthcare providers should support the emerging industry by agreeing on a common regulatory framework, subsidising early stages of the business and putting in place the innovation platform indispensable for the long term success of biotechnology, considering the potential benefits to the UAE economy and patients due to the increase in variety of available drugs.

As a highly complicated research field, biotechnology and biosimilars depend heavily on technology and the availability of highly-qualified talent in order to grow and thrive, said experts.

The Middle East and North Africa (Mean) region is a promising emerging market for biotech giants and we need to harness this potential in order to lay the groundwork of necessary knowledge for biotechnology in the region, they said.

The findings of a recent Workforce Planning Study by Dubai International Academic City in conjunction with Deloitte examined whether the UAE’s education programmes are serving the needs of the industry.

The research found an increase in the demand for skills associated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The study of over 2,400 students across 17 Mena markets reported that healthcare spending is expected to double between 2010 and 2015 across the region; this comes as a result of increasing emergence of chronic lifestyle diseases, an increase in government budget allocation and mandatory insurance usage.

These factors have created an increased in demand for specialised skills, such as medical and laboratory technology, especially at entry and middle levels. Hospital management and clinical data management skills were also identified as areas lacking senior level employees.

The discussion addressed the need to encourage more students into the life sciences sector to stimulate subsectors of the biotech industry, such as biosimilars, so that the issues relating to over reliance on imported medicines can be addressed.

The UAE currently imports 80 per cent of medicines, resulting in relatively expensive healthcare compared to countries where medicine is developed and manufactured locally. The experts agreed that to truly develop a knowledge-based economy, greater collaboration between industry, academia and government is required.

Marwan Abdulaziz, executive director of Tecom Investments’ Sciences Cluster, said: “Analysis of the region’s health sector shows we can expect rapid growth in the coming years. In order to stimulate sectors of the healthcare industry, such as biosimilars, we must facilitate better collaboration between academia, industry and the Government. In doing so, we can tackle the skills shortfall and develop a common area of dialogue to address this issue. We aim to maintain this dialogue and develop a mechanism that will allow us to make changes that drives an innovative environment that will contribute to overall economic, industrial and social development.

“While freezones such as DuBiotech provide businesses with a sound platform to establish in the region and tap booming opportunities in major sectors, education facilities have a major role to play in nurturing the local talent and building a solid knowledge base on which emerging industries can thrive.” - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Dubiotech | biotechnology | biosimilar |

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