New pharmaceutical deal to boost local production

Updated 03 May 2014

New pharmaceutical deal to boost local production

Boehringer Ingelheim, a leading pharmaceutical company, has entered into a tripartite agreement for local production in Saudi Arabia with Cigalah and Tabouk.
This came from Boehringer Ingelheim’s interest in expanding in Saudi Arabia with innovative medicines.
Tabuk, the pharmaceutical manufacturing company, as a local manufacturing leader who wants to strengthen its products and services offering to Saudi patients, and Cigala as a major health care distribution player with strong local infrastructure — along with Boehringer Ingelheim, all have decided to combine scientific knowhow, technical expertise, and local infrastructure to serve the Saudi patients.
With this contract, Cigalah and Tabuk will manage and drive complex secondary packaging projects of 26 products for Boehringer Ingelheim from the starting point until full implementation to become finished goods.
This is the first milestone toward Boehringer Ingelheim’s future local primary manufacturing in the kingdom.
With Boehringer Ingelheim’s investment, interest to expand in Saudi Arabia and partnering with local manufacturing units, the company will be able to offer more innovative medicines for Saudi patients, helping them to improve health and quality of life.
In addition, the partnership aims to seed job opportunities, and act as a business driver where Boehringer Ingelheim contributes to the development of the overall pharmaceutical sector.
The company has established its full end-to-end capabilities in Saudi Arabia and will continue to increase its own local investments in the pharmaceutical space as well as local talent in order to drive socio-economic development; creating value for individuals and society as a whole.
The contract between the companies was signed by Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Serafi CEO consultant of Cigalah Group, Dr. Hamad Al-Khamees, general manager Saudi Arabia Tabuk and Mohammed Al-Tawil, general manager, Boehringer Ingelheim Middle East and Near East Area.
The local production in Saudi Arabia satisfies only 15 percent of the demand and imports account for 85 percent of the domestic market.
The locally-grown companies primarily make generic drugs, while some also undertake under-license manufacturing and packaging on behalf of multinational pharmaceutical companies for supply in the domestic and regional markets.
Th agreement will help to establish new capabilities and capacities and a more effective supply chain to support Boehringer Ingelheim’s ambitious business plan and expansion in Saudi Arabia.
As the health care expenditure is forecasted to grow from 3.5 percent in 2010 to 6 percent of GDP by 2020, this partnership marks a significant step toward meeting the demand for quality medicines in the region while strengthening the infrastructure to locally provide therapies at par with the international standards.
Mohammed Al-Tawil, general manager, Boehringer Ingelheim Middle East and Near East Area, said: “We are delighted to enter into an agreement with Cigalah Group and Tabuk.


A Middle East online tutoring startup eyes Saudi Arabia’s market

Updated 14 min 22 sec ago

A Middle East online tutoring startup eyes Saudi Arabia’s market

  • Platform allows parents and students to find qualified tutors after filtering for price, location or ratings
  • GCC countries tipped to account for 15 million students this year, with increase in demand for tutoring

DUBAI: Hunting for a tutor online? The web is a great place to explore for its dizzying number of options, but as you click and consider each option, their very abundance can at times be confounding.
What should you choose and what should you ignore, especially when the outcome can affect your future?
To take the stress out of this task, Audrey Nakad came up with the idea of Synkers, an app that helps parents and college students find experts for the extra coaching the latter require.
The educational enterprise co-founded by Nakad, a Lebanese-Canadian national, provides information on qualified tutors after filtering for price, location or ratings.

Synkers, an app that helps parents and college students find experts for the extra coaching the latter require. (Supplied)

The tutors are screened and their qualifications verified — they can be professionals or senior students who have scored 95/100 on the courses or subjects they offer.
A separate B2B business model gives educational institutions the option to adopt the entire platform for their own students and access detailed insights and reports.
“Synkers was founded to ease a major pain point for parents: The ability to find qualified and experienced private teachers for their kids,” said Nakad, 28.
The idea was born from personal experience. As an undergraduate in Montreal, she worked as a private tutor and teaching assistant but had a hard time finding students.
At the same time, her sister Sibylle was struggling to find a qualified tutor to help her with her study material.


That led the siblings and their friend Zeina Sultani to found Synkers in Lebanon in September 2017. They began with 40 tutoring hours and 80 tutors.
Initial funding came from the Lebanese government, with Beirut-based technology accelerator [email protected] providing $30,000.
“With $30,000, we were able to build our first prototype, go to market and acquire our first paying customers within three months,” said Nakad.
“Soon after, we closed a seed round of $700,000 from Phoenician Fund I (a venture capital firm). This round allowed us to build a stronger product and team, reach product-market fit and, most importantly, expand to a new market, the UAE.”
By the end of 2019, the educational technology startup had partnered with Lebanon’s Ministry of Education.

FASTFACT

$177.6bn

Revenues generated by private tutoring by 2026. (Source: India-based Zion Market Research)

Over the last four years, Synkers has gained more than 60,000 students, over 1,000
vetted tutors, given 90,000 tutoring sessions, and achieved a 21 percent student improvement rate, according to Nakad.
Worldwide, demand for private tutoring has been growing rapidly. Zion Market Research, an India-based firm, projects that global revenues in the sector will reach $177.6 billion by 2026, up from $96.2 billion in 2017.
The Middle East currently accounts for $3.1 billion of total revenue, Synkers research shows. “With innovation and technology, our world is evolving so fast that our jobs and the skills needed to do them are constantly changing,” said Nakad.
“This makes it very difficult for schools to continually adapt their curriculum and way of teaching to prepare their students for the future.”
As the Gulf alone is expected to account for 15 million school students this year, Synkers hopes to scale up quickly to capitalize on the region’s market growth.

Audrey Nakad came up with the idea of Synkers. (Supplied)

In 2017, the company joined a Dubai Future Accelerators international program that paired innovators with government organizations to solve contemporary challenges.
The resulting collaboration with Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) led to Synkers partnering with the American University in Dubai and Lebanese and French private schools in the UAE.
The next steps for Synkers include expansion into Saudi Arabia, ideally by 2021. Egypt, the region’s largest market by population, will follow in 2022, with Jordan and Bahrain after that.
“We are very excited to announce that we are closing a pre-series A round with strong VCs from the region and Europe in order to grow in the region and enter Saudi Arabia,” said Nakad.
“In the next five years, we are looking to grow our user base from 60,000 learners to 2 million across the region.
“Our vision is to develop the largest community of knowledge exchange, and empower any knowledge holder to influence and teach the world.”
What sets Synkers apart from other online tutoring companies? Beyond the personalized adaptive learning plans and a significant investment in its tutors, Nakad pointed to the academic and socioeconomic benefits of Synkers’ peer-to-peer system, inspired by Harvard University.
“Students connect with people who are just like them,” she said. “They have the same background and experiences, which allows them to connect on an individual level and work together to mutually succeed.”

  • This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.