How does Dubai Science Park lead the way in building the R&D capacity in Dubai?
R&D is a key component of our ecosystem, and we have seen increased funding from the public and private sector in recent years. The Dubai government's 2020 budget (its largest in history) will fill our business partners with the confidence to play a leading role in R&D across science, energy, and the environment. Dubai Science Park contributes to R&D capacity in Dubai by bridging the gap between industry and academia. We have brought together universities and businesses to collaborate on research solving real-world business problems. Through various initiatives and events, we have encouraged young people to pursue careers in science, which will contribute to R&D in Dubai. And as a business enabler, we have continued to support R&D by allowing companies to grow and thrive in the region. With our business-friendly framework and bespoke infrastructure, we can remove red tape and improve the ease of doing business, so our partners can get set up quickly and focus on R&D.
Do you focus on SMEs or particular types of companies to drive this backward integration?
SMEs are the heart of Dubai's economy and supporting their growth is crucial to Dubai Science Park. By focusing on emerging and homegrown talent, we have become a key ecosystem enabler for Dubai's start-up scene and a hub for world-class companies. Dubai Science Park is a broad business community: while 60% of the companies are in the healthcare sector, we are home to food technology, renewable energy, and environmental businesses. Increasingly, there are growing opportunities in digital health as Dubai continues to take a leadership role in the deployment of innovative technologies.
Why are pharmaceuticals a key component of Dubai's industrial strategy?
Through the industrial strategy, Dubai expects to attract USD2.5 billion in investments in the pharmaceutical industry over the next five years, as it ramps up efforts to court international players to open up factories here. As we are working to make Dubai a hub for manufacturing, we have identified pharmaceuticals as a priority subsector. Initially, we were looking at conventional pharmaceutical manufacturing, and we explored some opportunities in generics, mainly driven by insurers and payers, with the government's support for local tenders. Looking at pharmaceuticals specifically, we identified generics as a good short-term opportunity. In the medium and long term, we are looking at biosimilars and new-generation sequencing. To this end, we welcomed our first advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing facility to Dubai Science Park in 2018. Pharmax Pharmaceuticals' USD34-million plant has an annual production capacity of over 200 million tablet and capsule dosage forms and is dedicated to the manufacturing and commercialization of pharmaceuticals targeting chronic conditions prevalent in the Middle East. It is already making a positive contribution to the local economy, directly through job creation and indirectly by helping Dubai become less reliant on pharmaceutical imports. This demonstrates to other pharmaceutical companies that Dubai is a profitable and strategic location for manufacturing and equipped with the infrastructure to support cutting-edge manufacturing.
What are your strategic priorities and vision for Dubai Science Park for 2020?
We will continue to create a business environment that helps companies thrive. In 2018, we launched Advanced Health, a networking platform for UAE healthcare stakeholders to explore important industry issues. Its initial success has given us the confidence to take it to the next level, with exciting talks and networking opportunities planned for our participation at Arab Health 2020. We will also continue the Green Leadership Series, a networking and knowledge-sharing event focused on sustainability and advancing Dubai's green economy. This is a strategic sector that we want to leverage and stimulate, and we will continue exploring high-growth verticals such as new-generation sequencing. Some of the ideas that we explore are inspired by emerging technologies, so we are flexible and adaptable to meet the demands of our business partners.