Clinical trials to accelerate adoption of new drug treatments in Saudi Arabia

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Updated 27 May 2020

Clinical trials to accelerate adoption of new drug treatments in Saudi Arabia

  • Trials are being led locally as an essential means to verify the safety and effectiveness of a new drug
  • Eli Lilly has a major role to play during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic

RIYADH: Clinical trials in Saudi Arabia could speed up the adoption of new drugs locally, a pharmaceutical executive has told Arab News.

“Clinical trials have two very big benefits for the Kingdom. Firstly, they provide data in the long run with respect to safety and efficacy, catered specifically to the Saudi population. Secondly, they impact local investment and build healthcare capabilities,” Managing Director of Eli Lilly Dimitri Livadas said..

Lividas further explained that the clinical trial phase of any new treatment is crucial as it represents the stage between the adoption or rejection of a drug. Working with the Ministry of Health and with a presence in the Kingdom for 42 years, the pharmaceutical company began research trials in the country in 2016, consisting of five pre-marketing activities and three monitoring studies for post-marketing.

Lividas added that the trials are being led locally as an essential means to verify the safety and effectiveness of a new drug before it is put to the market and introduced to patients. The majority of these are focused on diabetes, oncology, immunology, and osteoporosis.

“We genuinely believe that our future is here in Saudi Arabia. We continue to make great progress in having a commercial organization in the Kingdom that is fully staffed by Saudi nationals,” said Lividas.

As a biopharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly has a major role to play during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. It recently announced partnership with AbCellera to develop a treatment for the virus and aims to enter into clinical trials this year.

“I salute the Saudi authorities for their strong measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. I think it is an example to the world on how to do this. I would like to also express my gratitude toward all healthcare professionals who are currently on the frontlines, risking their own health to help others," Lividas said.

Virtual BMG forum to spotlight Saudi investment

Updated 07 July 2020

Virtual BMG forum to spotlight Saudi investment

More than 20 high-level Saudi government representatives and 15 local and international CEOs will bring to light post-pandemic investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia at the 2020 BMG Economic Forum, which will go virtual this year.

The forum, with a 25-year history, will be held on July 15 from 2 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. KSA time.

The forum is organized by BMG Financial Group and its CSR arm, BMG Foundation, and is part of the BMG Summer Retreat, which always takes place in the UK and also hosts a polo match, with the presence of Saudi and British royals among participants.

“In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Saudi economy needs foreign investment more than ever,” said Basil Al-Ghalayini, chairman and CEO, BMG Financial Group. “Saudi Arabia is on a journey of economic diversification, which offers many investment opportunities, and international investors have for several years been encouraged by the clear direction that Vision 2030 offers as well as by the huge improvement in the prestigious annual world competitiveness rankings by the Swiss IMD.”

Explaining the role and purpose of the 2020 BMG Economic Forum, Al-Ghalayini said: “Now that we are focused on post-pandemic recovery, the international investor community is keen to get a comprehensive update on the Saudi economy as well as on key industries — those that are the pillars of the transformation of the Saudi economy. Therefore, the timing of the annual BMG Economic Forum has never been better, and we are proud to host a very prestigious lineup of speakers and welcome over 500 participants.”

The recently launched tourism development fund and the opportunities for accelerating the recovery will be a leitmotiv for the virtual BMG Economic Forum this year. Saudi government officials and local and international business executives will discuss the investment opportunities for foreign investors and Saudi organizations.

In the tradition of BMG Foundation Classics’ charitable summer concerts in London, the foundation will this year unite an orchestra with musicians representing the G20 countries, including musicians from Nova Orchester Wien. The concert will be broadcast live digitally from Ehrbar Hall in Vienna, Austria, at the end of the BMG Economic Forum.

Reflecting international cooperation within the G20 group of nations, 20 young musicians will come together to play a concert of Eastern and Western music, conducted by Maestro William Garfield Walker, a young American conductor based in Vienna. The program features music composed by Syrian-Argentinian composer Diego Collatti, including traditional Arabic music, arranged specially for this concert, in the classical tradition of Western music.

Other sectors and themes featuring on the forum agenda include: The new mining law, what is next for Saudi capital markets, energy, international supply chains and food security strategy revisited.

The confirmed speakers include: Bander Al-Khorayef, Saudi minister of industry and mineral resources; Stephen Groff, governor, Saudi National Development Fund; Dr. Frank Appel, CEO, Deutsche Post DHL Group; Paddy Padmanathan, president and CEO of ACWA Power; Dr. Ali Parsa, founder and CEO of Babylon Health; Ali Alireza, managing director, Haji Husein Alireza and Co. Ltd.; Reema Al-Asmari, CEO, corporate and investment banking KSA, Natixis; Richad Soundardjee, CEO, Societe Generale Middle East; Nicholas Naples, CEO, Amaala; and Khalid Al-Hussan, CEO, Tadawul.

The prominent speakers will also cover topics such as privatization, partnerships and digitization in health care and sustainable investment trends.