Sarah Al Amiri Visits Dubai Science Park, Tours Regional Headquarters of International Companies

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Visit is part of Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology’s efforts to develop key industries

Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, visited Dubai Science Park (DSP), the region’s first holistic business district dedicated to the science, healthcare and pharma sectors.

The visit was part of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology’s (MoIAT’s) efforts to engage with industry stakeholders in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors in line with the objectives of Operation 300Bn that aims to drive the development of future industries and priority sectors of the UAE’s economy.

Al Amiri met with Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of DSP and Chairing Member of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Taskforce of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, and major international investors, corporate officials, researchers and specialists. The session was followed by discussions with senior executives of major companies, including Mr. Maurice Faber, Regional Managing Director of Olympus for the Middle East and Africa, Mr. Madhukar Tanna, CEO of Pharmax Pharmaceuticals, and Dr Palat K Menon, founder and CEO of AstraGene.

The Minister was briefed on the most prominent achievements of DSP and its companies. She also toured the regional headquarters of international companies based in the district, including Olympus and International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), as well as several startups. The visit included a panel discussion, during which she listened to the various growth opportunities in the sector.

Innovative industries

Sarah Al Amiri said: “MoIAT seeks to stimulate innovative projects and industries with the aim of creating an integrated innovation ecosystem that contributes to consolidating the UAE’s global leadership in diverse areas. The country offers unparalleled facilities to support the growth of the industrial sector. Furthermore, it has leveraged its strategic geographical location to evolve into a regional logistics hub that provides easy access to multiple global markets.”

She added: “The UAE focuses on driving post-pandemic growth by utilizing technology, innovation and R&D to improve the performance of priority sectors and attract foreign direct investments (FDI). The Ministry’s continued engagement with entities operating in the fields of industry and advanced technology helps achieve the country’s strategic priorities.”

DSP’s key players

Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi said: “We appreciate the Ministry’s crucial role in supporting manufacturers in reaching new regional and global markets, as well as its efforts to accelerate digital transformation, and its focus on knowledge and innovation sectors, including life sciences.”

He added: “The healthcare, medical devices and pharmaceuticals sectors are key to global economic recovery, which has been reflected in the increased funding of emerging healthcare companies worldwide and their expansion in the UAE. As a testament to their growing importance, they have been included among the priority sectors of Operation 300Bn.”

Janahi provided an overview of businesses in the sector based at DSP, and highlighted some of the key investments and projects during H1 2021, including the AED700 million Neuro Spinal Hospital. Three research centers are currently under construction at DSP, set to be completed by 2022 – the first for Himalaya Drug Company, the second for the Swiss firm Firmenich and the third for the Norwegian company Jotun Group. Meanwhile, Pharmax Pharmaceuticals and Acino entered a strategic partnership that contributes to transforming the UAE into a hub for high-quality pharmaceutical industries.

Roundtable discussion

The roundtable discussion examined the most important initiatives supporting the healthcare, medical equipment and pharmaceutical sectors. The participants also discussed methods of coordination and cooperation between MoIAT, federal and local government agencies, and private sector entities to achieve their common goals.

In addition to reviewing key challenges and opportunities, the session explored the main reasons why international companies choose to set up their regional headquarters in the UAE. These included the country’s enabling legislation, state-of-the-art logistics facilities, advanced e-government services, safety and security, ease of doing business, and stable business outlook.

Mohammed Al Qasim, Director of the Technology Adoption and Development Department at MoIAT, Mr. Maurice Faber, Regional Managing Director of Olympus for the Middle East and Africa, Mr. Madhukar Tanna, CEO of Pharmax Pharmaceuticals, and Dr Palat K Menon, founder and CEO of AstraGene joined Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri and Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi on the panel.

About the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology:

The UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, established in July 2020, is mandated with strengthening the UAE’s industrial sector, specifically by drawing on the advanced technology and tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Ministry has three overarching goals: Strengthening the UAE’s industrial base, ensuring in country value, and raising the competitiveness of local industries. By enhancing the contribution of advanced technology, the Ministry will support the country’s sustainable economic growth, and ensure GDP contribution from the industry sector. 

The Ministry will draft policies, laws and programmes to create a world-class industrial development framework for the nation that will help attract foreign direct investment, boost In-Country Value creation, support national entrepreneurship, drive job creation, and boost exports of ‘Made in UAE’ products.

From encouraging the establishment of industrial complexes to raising local capacity in advanced technology, the Ministry will accelerate industrial development in a bid to drive economic growth, diversification, value retention and national self-reliance.