Indian pharmaceutical and biotech company Wockhardt has announced plans to expand into the Middle East by setting up its first manufacturing facility in Dubai.
The $40m facility, located in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), has fully automated manufacturing equipment for handling, warehousing, manufacturing operations, product testing and product stability.
The 10,000 sqm facility will specifically be used for manufacturing new chemical entities (NCEs), a statement said.
The company expects to make a “major breakthrough in the development of antimicrobial drugs to fight the emerging threat of superbugs”, said founder and chairman of Wockhardt Dr. Habil Khorakiwala.
Antimicrobial Resistance – the ability of infections to resist antibiotics to work against it – is increasingly recognised as a growing global health problem.
Infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant strains of bacteria – also called ‘superbugs’ – are unlikely to respond to standard treatments resulting in prolonged illness and a greater risk to health. This in turn leads to higher healthcare costs due to consumption of healthcare resources.
Wockhardt currently has five antibiotic drugs in advanced stages of global clinical development which will be effective against these “superbugs” threats identified by the Center of Disease Control in the US.
“We have five breakthrough NCEs that have been accorded Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) status by US FDA. With the new facility in the Middle East, we aim to focus on our commitment in developing medicines that can fight antimicrobial resistance,” said Khorakiwala.
The facility will work on the exhibit batches, which are expected to be offered for inspection by the regulators at an “appropriate time”.
Wockhardt, which has manufacturing and research facilities in India, the US and UK and a manufacturing facility in Ireland, said it chose Dubai because of the strong growth in the region.
The UAE’s pharmaceutical and healthcare market is booming, with Jafza alone home to 306 healthcare and pharmaceutical companies from 54 countries.
According to a report by BMI research, the UAE’s pharmaceutical and healthcare market is expected to grow from Dhs62.3bn in 2017 to Dhs65.68bn in 2018 and Dhs78.13bn in 2021.
Sultan Bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO, DP World, said: “The healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors are key strategic targets in the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030. As a trade and logistics hub, Jafza is determined to help it grow.
“The opening of a research-centric global pharmaceutical and biotech company like Wockhardt in Jafza marks another milestone moment in our efforts to encourage pharmaceutical companies to establish their manufacturing facilities, as well as knowledge and R&D centres in DP World’s business and industrial parks.”