Hayat Biotech, a biotechnology company based in the UAE, recently organised a thought-provoking discussion panel titled "Revolutionising Life Sciences from Abu Dhabi" at Khalifa University in the capital city. In collaboration with Boopin, the event marked the inauguration of the Life-Biotech Dialogue series, which aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and explore key priorities within the healthcare sector.
Mustafa Al Rawi, Acting Managing Director for CNN Business Arabic, moderated the panel discussion emphasising the significance of the growing life sciences industry, focusing on the role that the UAE currently plays and will continue to play in the future. Drawing from the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of self-reliance and accessibility to essential medical treatments and services for the population was highlighted. Moreover, the necessity of collaboration with neighbouring countries and global partners to build resilience on a global scale, transcending geographical boundaries, was also underscored.
The discussion at the event aimed not only to mitigate risks but also to explore the opportunities that lie within the life sciences sector. It highlighted Hayat Biotech as a prime example of a homegrown company from Abu Dhabi, UAE, with its investors making proactive decisions.
The opening remarks delivered by Hayat Biotech's Deputy CEO, Naser Al Yammahi, addressed the current healthcare landscape. “We are hosting this discussion at a crucial time of a global pharmaceutical shortage and are approaching these challenges with humility, a great sense of responsibility, unwavering commitment, and an eagerness to work with healthcare stakeholders. This is the time when collaboration between national healthcare entities and our international firms has become more crucial than ever. If there was anything we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that sharing knowledge and information is crucial to combat global pandemics,” he said.
Other key issues in the discussion were the importance of training and education, research and development, global collaboration and how the UAE can become a life sciences hub and support clinical trials thanks to a diverse pool of nationalities. Panellists Dr. Dirk Kuhlmeier, Co-founder of Fraunhofer Project Center; Dr. Nawal Al Kaabi, Senior Advisor at Hayat Biotech; Dr. Dirk Richter, Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH) Director of Health Sector Innovation; Yunli Zhao, Vice President of Hayat Biotech Production; and Dr. Mira Mousa, Deputy Director of the Biomedical Science Discovery Program at Khalifa University discussed all these key aspects at great length.
Focus on R&D and innovation
Aligning with DoH’s mission to become a global hub for research and innovation in life sciences and following the declaration of collaboration signed between DoH and Hayat Biotech in January 2023, Hayat Biotech's cutting-edge biotechnology facilities located in Abu Dhabi and Belgrade, Serbia, boast a combined annual production capacity of 230 million vials.
"Research and development (R&D) have proven to be crucial during the pandemic, highlighting their significance to everyone. To control and mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic, several key areas have emerged. Firstly, vaccine development became a top priority, with efforts focused on developing vaccines swiftly to save lives and ensure their safety and effectiveness in combating the virus. Secondly, the exploration of therapeutic options became essential, considering the novel nature of the disease and virus. R&D played a critical role in developing effective antivirals, antibodies, and other therapeutics to minimise the detrimental effects of COVID-19. Lastly, surveillance and monitoring required reliable diagnostic tools to effectively track and monitor the disease's progression," commented Al Kaabi.
Furthermore, Hayat Biotech, in collaboration with IROS, has established itself as a preferred partner for clinical studies in the healthcare industry due to its expertise and ongoing commitment to conducting clinical trials. In addition to the eight clinical trials that have already been conducted across the UAE, Hayat Biotech is developing new and innovative biopharma products that address unmet medical needs or improve upon existing treatments.