- GL Rapha seeks to be one of the multinational biopharmaceutical companies to have a manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia.
- Agreement to explore investment in biotechnology technology transfer
- Announcement reflects rapid growth in biopharmaceuticals’ opportunities in Saudi healthcare sector driven by demographic change and regulatory reform
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (2 October 2019) – SAGIA announces that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with GL Rapha Co., which will result in significant localization of GL Rapha operations in the Kingdom.
As part of the US$320 million (SAR 1.2 billion) agreement, GL Rapha, holding company of Hankook Korus Pharm, plans to establish a local facility to manufacture 30 biotechnology products in Saudi Arabia and launch five innovative products over the next five years.
The agreement was signed in a ceremony in Riyadh today attended by Mr. Jae-Gan Whang, Chairman of GL Rapha, Mr. Chang-Jo Yun, Assistant Manager, GL Rapha and Mr. Sultan Mofti, Deputy Governor, SAGIA.
Commenting on the agreement, Mr. Alabbas Alghamdi, Director of Pharmaceutical Segment at SAGIA, said:
“This agreement is a clear signal that international investors and business leaders recognize Saudi Arabia’s potential for healthcare investment. Working in concert with our partners throughout the Kingdom and abroad, we are also proactively fostering a greater localization of healthcare services and pharmaceutical manufacturing to meet growing demand.”
Mr. Jae-Gan Whang, Chairman of GL Rapha, added:
“GL Rapha seeks to be one of the multinational biopharmaceutical companies to have manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia. GL Rapha is willing to innovate and support Saudi Arabia vision for 2030 to increase local manufacturing and biotechnology products and foster local talent. Over the years, GL Rapha has been committed to improving patients’ access to innovative medicines worldwide. The MoU we have signed today aims to start our local manufacturing in the bio-similar, monoclonal antibody (mAb), growth factor, pharmaceutical raw material and reinforces our commitment to work with Saudi Government for a sustainable ecosystem that encourages innovation and investment in healthcare and Saudi talent development. We are willing to invest SAR 1.2 Billion and create more than 300 high skilled jobs”.
Saudi Arabia has seen rapid growth in the number of investment licenses issued – the number of licenses issued in the second quarter of 2019 was 103% higher than that in the same period in 2018.
GL Rapha plans to start operating in Saudi Arabia as a pioneer among Korean companies in this differentiated sector and is considered as the first Korean multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company investing in localizing biotechnology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the largest spender on healthcare in the MENA region, with $46bn allocated by the government in 2019 and $130bn expected government expenditure on the sector from 2017-2021.
The sector is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years as a consequence of positive population growth and demographic shifts, and major reforms such as 100% foreign ownership being made possible in the sector for the first time in 2018.
Saudi Arabia is undergoing a series of social and economic reforms that aim at realizing the Kingdom’s economic potential under Vision 2030. Within two years, Saudi Arabia has implemented 55% of more than 300 economic reforms identified, including opening up a wide range of economic sectors to foreign investment, including allowing 100 percent foreign ownership in a range of new sectors.