Biocon-Neopharma venture to develop drugs in Dubai

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Biocon-Neopharma venture to develop drugs in Dubai
By Shakir Husain, Staff Reporter/Gulf News
Published: July 30, 2007, 23:49

Dubai: Indian biotechnology firm Biocon Limited and Abu Dhabi-based drugmaker Neopharma have set up a venture in Dubai to develop treatments for diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases in a boost for the emirate’s efforts to create a viable medical research sector.

Located in Dubai Bio-technology and Research Park (Dubiotech), Neobiocon will focus on developing drugs to fight diseases that are growing due to changing lifestyles in the region.

The companies said the cardiovascular, diabetes and oncology segments represent the fastest growing class of drugs in the $5 billion GCC pharmaceutical market.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon, sees a spending of Dh100 million on research and development over the next three to five years.

The areas of research include auto-immune disorders, anti-obesity drugs and new generation immunosuppressant agents.

“Our long-term vision is to ensure that the region is self-sufficient in terms of biopharmaceutical products,” Shaw said, describing the UAE as the “diabetes capital” of the region.

Neobiocon will rely on Biocon’s technological achievements and Neopharma’s manufacturing capabilities.

Neopharma, part of healthcare group NMC, has a drug-making facility in the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi and plans to set up another plant in the capital to make drugs being developed by the Dubai-based venture.

NMC managing director B.R. Shetty told Gulf News his company will invest about Dh300 million in the plant covering a land area of 100,000 square metres.

He expects an annual turnover of about Dh185 million per year from the new company.

Besides the UAE, the company will also target Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

Diabetes and cardiovascular disorders are seen growing in the region due to sedentary lifestyles, job-related stress, a lack of physical activity and eating of rich foods.

“In addition to India and sub-Saharan Africa, the greatest relative increase of these diseases is expected to occur in the Middle Eastern countries,” the two companies said in a statement.

Biotechnology: Dubiotech infrastructure is now 100% complete

– Dubiotech has begun leasing land for offices and factories to companies and has finished work on basic infrastructure facilities, a senior official said.

– The business cluster is part of Dubai Holding unit Tecom Investments.

– “Infrastructure is now 100 per cent complete. The lab building will be ready in early 2009 and the headquarters building in late 2009,” business development director Yahya Al Ansari said.

– Total spending on infrastructure and the two buildings is estimated about Dh1.2 billion.

– Dubiotech has so far attracted 26 companies in different areas of biotechnology and medical research.

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