Abu Dhabi poised to become major clinical trial capital, officials say


The capital of the United Arab Emirates is well placed to become the main destination for clinical trials, according to officials from the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Health.

With its population of people from all parts of the world and its strategic position on the map, Abu Dhabi is well suited to attract international life science companies, they said during a visit to the United States.

A delegation from Abu Dhabi visited the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington, the capital of the United States, and visited biomedical research and development in the city of Boston, a center for life sciences.

The state of Massachusetts is considered a model for developing the sector’s economic growth.

For every job created in the life sciences, five more open up in the field of health and science in the broad sense.

With over 200 nationalities working and living together in the same geographical location, we are a cohort for the whole world

Dr. Asma Al Mannaei, Department of Health – Abu Dhabi

The UAE’s diverse population, strong regulatory authorities and growing pool of academic talent have created opportunities for businesses to explore Abu Dhabi, the team said.

“We want to contribute to the healthcare of the whole population, not just the UAE, and be part of creating the future together,” said Dr. Asma Al Mannaei, Director of Healthcare Quality at health at the Abu Dhabi Department of Health.

“Three years ago, it was hard to imagine conducting phase III clinical trials [in the UAE]people worried about what it meant.

“Now we are embarking on several trials with confidence,” she said.

“With over 200 nationalities working and living together in the same geographic location, we are a cohort for the whole world.”

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Currently, around 400 clinical research trials are underway in Abu Dhabi.

Researchers can use the Emirati Genome program, which aims to provide preventive and personalized health care to the Emirati population, and the Malaffi system which has unified health services and patient information.

“We have a wealth of data that allows us to understand the impact of different drugs on a population and apply real-world evidence,” Dr. Al Mannaei said.

“It’s not just about clinical data. We launched the Emirati Genome program, which will provide us with a valuable layer of genetic data and a basis for precision and personalized medicine.

“We want to use this data to accelerate the discovery of new drugs, so we are opening the doors to new collaborations.”

Research has found that certain drugs are ineffective in Emirati patients, including those with diabetes, and scientists are trying to figure out why.

Abu Dhabi-based G42 Healthcare extracts data anonymously for analysis by its Biogenix Laboratories and Omics Center of Excellence.

Meanwhile, a centralized database of patient records under the Malaffi system provides population health information to help with service planning.

As the system advances, AI technology and machine learning will be used to reduce disease progression and promote better health outcomes.

During the visit, Yousef Al Otaiba, Minister of State and UAE Ambassador to the United States, said the partnerships have improved the lives of thousands of patients and improved healthcare.

“Partnerships are key to improving medical care for people in the United States, the United Arab Emirates and around the world,” he said.

“Encouraging more Emiratis to work in the health and research sectors is vital.

“American universities will continue to play a key role in helping train the next generation of Emirati doctors, healthcare workers and researchers.

“At the same time, these partnerships are helping to expand the UAE’s own education and healthcare infrastructure.”

Collaborations with international partners and the private sector have helped accelerate Abu Dhabi’s establishment as a major distribution hub, he said.

“The life sciences, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors will be key in helping the UAE achieve its goals of economic diversification and economic growth,” Mr. Otaiba said.

“It will also be good for the health of people in the UAE and the region.

“Given the ease of doing business, world-class talent pool, quality of life and geographic location, the UAE is an ideal location for companies looking to grow their business and access to new markets.

Life sciences can drive economic growth

Life sciences are of major interest in the UAE’s shift towards non-oil gross domestic product growth.

Collaboration with international private enterprise is crucial in this regard, especially in the United States, where strong laws protecting intellectual property rights make the UAE attractive to drugmakers.

Strong intellectual property protection provides the incentives and commercial security needed to encourage long-term pharmaceutical investment, as long as the laws are properly enforced.

Nanotechnology in cancer treatment, gene editing and cellular therapeutics were identified as priority areas for development by the delegation.

The United Arab Emirates was one of the first countries to participate in clinical trials of coronavirus vaccines, while Abu Dhabi has locally manufactured more than 300,000 samples of Covid-19 RNA extraction solution.

It is an example of the emirate’s potential and rapid development, according to Dr Omar Najim, director of executive affairs at the Abu Dhabi Department of Health.

“During Covid, we processed over 260 million vaccine doses through Abu Dhabi to over 60 countries,” Dr Najim said.

“We have proven our world-class infrastructure and now we want to take these collaborations to the next level.”

Inside the lab taking samples for the Emirati genome program: In pictures

Updated: June 12, 2022, 11:38 a.m.

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