Saudi Arabia to inject $3B into vaccines and medicines industry

June 27, 2022 - 2 minutes
Saudi Arabia is looking to become a hub for vaccine development in the Middle East. Photo/Shutterstock

Saudi Arabia is boosting biotech and looking to become a center for the vaccine industry.

The Saudi Arabian Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, chairman of the manufacturing vaccines and vital medicines committee, Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef, has announced the launch of several investment opportunities in the vaccines and vital medicines industry, valued at $3.4 billion, to achieve the Kingdom’s goals aimed at achieving pharmaceutical and health security, and making Saudi Arabia an important center for what he called a “promising industry.”

The Minister stressed the targeted pharmaceutical sectors in general, whose value exceeds $5 billion, will be implemented in several stages. This will start with vaccines and vital medicines, as the first phase will focus on localizing vaccines, plasma, and insulin technologies. He said this would increase the Kingdom’s capabilities in these sectors and achieve health and pharmaceutical security while reducing the high cost on the state budget, which currently imports 100% of vaccines and vital pharmaceutical products.

Economically, he also added the vital medicines sector enjoys the fastest growth rate in the market among all pharmaceutical sectors with an annual rate of 17%.

Alkhorayef said the committee will focus in the first phase on localizing basic children’s vaccines and building the necessary self-capacities and manufacturing platforms to combat future pandemics. This will be followed by insulin production to treat diabetes patients and then support plasma collection centers with a factory to achieve self-sufficiency in plasma derivatives.

Second phase

The second phase will focus on localizing immunological and cancer treatments technologies.  

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The minister explained that the manufacturing vaccines and vital medicines committee aims to identify the best technologies in the field of vaccines and vital medicines, and then invest to build local industrial platforms to international standards.

By doing this, he said, the country will become an “industrial power and a logistical platform for vaccines and vital medicines in the Middle East and the Muslim countries.”

The committee is working on organizing and developing vital medicines, the announcement by the Saudi Press Agency said, by setting a strategy for regulating the vaccines and vital medicines industry, related programs, and plans, supervising their implementation, and setting rules and standards for building factories for vaccines and vital medicines.

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