Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The health needs of not only the 10 million residents in the UAE, its medical tourists and other visitors but beyond as well, have become more secure with the entry of a family-owned French biopharmaceutical company which chose Dubai as its first Middle East and Africa (MEA) headquarters in the region.
With its MEA headquarters and specifically its first “scientific office” at the Al Jalila Foundation Building in Dubai Healthcare City, the 90-year-old Ipsen has “solidified” its presence, after over 15 years of existence in the region, spanning “more than 30 countries from Turkey to South Africa and Iran to Morocco,” in the field of oncology, rare diseases, and neuroscience,” Matthieu Savarzeix, Ipsen vice president/MEA/Tunisia/Algeria and Morocco told Gulf Today.
Ministry of Health and Prevention-Medical Practice and Licensing Sector assistant undersecretary Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, French Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Raja Rabia, Al Jalila Foundation chief executive officer Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama and Ipsen MEA-Specialty Care Operations head Khaleej Elrefae, attended the inauguration.
Ipsen has innovation teams in France as well as research centres in the UK and the USA.
Savarzeix explained that with the MEA scientific office in the UAE, opportunities for much closer collaborations with oncology associations, continuing roundtable discussions and the setting up of panel advisory boards for “peer-to-peer exchanges,” among other initiatives between and among experts and specialists, including clinical trials in the region, have been amplified.
“With it, we get to spread scientific knowledge, make doctors more aware of what to prescribe, to whom to prescribe at the right dosage at the right time.”
Their research and development of medicines and therapeutics has been in the areas of hepatocellular/liver cancer, renal cell/kidney cancer, prostate cancer, and neuroendocrine tumours.
The results of their Phase III clinical trial on a drug for Fibrodysplasia Ossificans (a disorder in the skeletal muscle and connective tissues such as the ligaments and tendons, resulting in the formation of extra-skeletal or heterotropic bone outside of the skeleton that restricts mobility or movement) is awaiting Food and Drug Administration (USA) approval.
Savarzeix said the decision to set up the regional scientific office in Dubai was brought about by the robust infrastructure facilities and support systems as well as clear health legislative procedures the UAE offers.
“We were ready in late 2019 for the inauguration but the (COVID-9) pandemic came.”
At the media briefing following the inauguration, Al Amiri said the Ipsen MEA scientific office is the 86th by a pharmaceutical industry player in the country: “Ipsen’s commitment to investing in the UAE and the region and its decision to open its regional headquarters here is a welcome step that further underlines our nation’s rich legacy of facilitating the regional expansion of multinational firms. We look forward to pathbreaking therapies by Ipsen that will help the health community further secure the health of our communities.”
“The United Arab Emirates and France enjoy a strong and long-lasting relationship covering culture, business, education, healthcare and more. Over the years, French companies have contributed to the economy and gained from the opportunities offered by the country both at a national level and to expand to regional markets. We congratulate Ipsen on the opening of their new regional headquarters in the UAE and look forward to the positive impact this creates on the lives of patients as we continue to strengthen the friendship between our nations and build in our strong bilateral relations,” Consul General Rabia said.
With the UAE being the current home of 26,000 French nationals, she also said that with Ipsen, France now has over 600 companies operating. This spikes the French healthcare industry portfolio in the host country and helps enhance trade valued at €3.9 billion (Dhs16.9 billion).
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