Biopharma: A new investment trend in the Kingdom
At last, after months of anticipation, countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia, have started implementing national vaccination campaigns for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Last week, Saudi Arabia’s Food and Drug Authority approved the registration of a coronavirus vaccine in the Kingdom. The decision was based on data provided by Pfizer. A free and optional vaccination is set to start before the end of the year, with priority given to those above the age of 65, healthcare workers, the obese, individuals on autoimmune suppressants or suffering from autoimmune diseases, and those with chronic illnesses.
One must admit that the pandemic has focused media attention on announcements by global pharma companies about the outcome of clinical trials of vaccines. I am sure many of us have increased our understanding of the pharma science field as a result of global news updates.
In response to this trend toward pharma, BMG Financial Group has adjusted its private offering priorities and started to table capital increase advisory and equity placement mandates with leading local and international biopharma companies.
These mandates focus on securing long-term strategic investors to finance the next rounds of research, developments and clinical trials leading to the commercialization of these drugs.
Furthermore, some of these companies are exploring setting up local joint ventures with major public-listed companies together with leading science and research universities.
In achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the government is working to strengthen localized pharmaceutical manufacturing. It is estimated that only 20 percent of drugs are locally manufactured while 80 percent are still imported. Hence, there is a great opportunity for international biopharma companies to explore forming strategic partnerships with local players to producing approved vaccines.
The use of information technology in healthcare has also increased during the pandemic. Technology and the online culture had already affected our daily lives in
business meetings, education and healthcare, among others.
Recent developments in information and communication technology (ICT) have changed business models in all industries, including healthcare. Saudi Arabia, with
its advance ICT infrastructure, will be offering IT solutions to enhance healthcare services offered to its nationals and residents. The Saudi vision is encouraging greater participation of the private sector in healthcare, for local and international investors.
• Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.