Sanofi-Aventis will build a new manufacturing plant in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Saudi Arabia through an agreement with the Emaar development company (ECC).
The 35,000 sqm facility will produce oral anti-diabetics and cardiovascular drugs for the local market, which is estimated to be worth over $400m (€328m) a year according to a recent Zawya survey.
Sanofi’s decision to locate the plant in KAEC is a big win for the ECC and the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) who have been actively courting investment from the global drug industry.
This point was stressed by ECC managing director Fahd Al Rasheed, who explained that: “We have given special attention to the pharmaceutical sector primarily because of the quality of jobs they create and the products they produce which contribute to the well being of Saudi citizens.”
Manar Al-Moneef, SAGIA director general of health and life sciences agreed, suggesting Sanofi-Aventis' move “solidifies the city's position as …an ideal regional hub for partaking in the booming Middle East emerging market."
Sanofi’s move, which fits with the general trend for Big Pharma firm’s to invest in emerging pharmaceutical markets, is unlikely to be its last deal in the region according to company senior VP Antoine Ortoli.
He explained that: “We are looking for all public and private partnerships across the Middle East that will open doors to new solutions for better health outcomes and strengthen our leadership position in those fast growing Markets.”