Japanese pharma giant eyes Saudi expansion, new product launches

Japanese pharma giant eyes Saudi expansion, new product launches
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The Tokyo-headquartered company has placed its focus on providing products to the Kingdom in areas such as oncology and plasma-derived therapies. (File)
Japanese pharma giant eyes Saudi expansion, new product launches
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Rodrigo Rodriguez, Takeda’s general manager for the Middle East.
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Updated 06 May 2021

Japanese pharma giant eyes Saudi expansion, new product launches

Japanese pharma giant eyes Saudi expansion, new product launches
  • Takeda plans 5 major launches in Kingdom to gain bigger share of $10bn sector

JEDDAH: Japanese drug-making giant, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., is eyeing Saudi Arabia as a key Middle East market as it aims to boost global sales by more than 50 percent to 5 trillion yen ($48.01 billion) over the next decade.

The Tokyo-headquartered company has placed its focus on providing products to the Kingdom in areas such as oncology, rare diseases, gastroenterology, and plasma-derived therapies.

Rodrigo Rodriguez, Takeda’s general manager for the Middle East, told Arab News: “From 2021 on, we expect growth in the Kingdom driven by these highly innovative inline products and the launches that we anticipate in key therapeutic areas.”

Over the next two years, the research-based firm plans to launch five new products in Saudi Arabia: Adynovate for the blood-clotting disorder hemophilia; Firazyr for acute attacks of hereditary angioedema (HAE), an allergic reaction resulting in skin swelling; HyQvia, which helps boost the immune system; and two other drugs for the treatment of rare and serious types of cancer.

Last year, Takeda launched two new products in the Kingdom, namely Takhzyro for HAE, and Cuvitru for the immune system.

“We believe we have a compelling portfolio with a high level of innovation in order to help patients in the Kingdom to improve their lives,” Rodriguez said.

He pointed out that while the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic had impacted every sector in the country, the main challenge was to ensure products got to clients and a continuity of supply was maintained.

“Considering the nature of our portfolio, we have potential lifesaving treatments which are highly innovative products. We believe that we were able to mitigate potential fluctuations and deviations in terms of supply and the overall results around the globe and in Saudi Arabia.

“Because of the nature of our products, we really believe that our key focus should be ensuring supply to patients in order to avoid any disruption in the treatment,” he added.

Despite the pandemic, the Saudi pharmaceutical market was expected to see continued growth over the coming years. According to a recent report by Coherent Market Insights, the market was last year estimated to be worth $10.191 billion and is predicted to have shown a compound annual growth rate of 7.3 percent by 2027. Saudi government reforms and increased healthcare expenditure were also forecast to aid market growth.

Coherent Market Insights said government data showed that healthcare and social development spending reached $45.9 billion in 2019. “Saudi Arabia is a core market for Takeda, and a positive outlook is anticipated by us and by analysts. The Kingdom is the largest pharmaceutical market in the Middle East, and we are happily expanding,” Rodriguez said.

And he had similar hopes for the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the wider region. “At the same time, we are also introducing new products in the GCC region that will accelerate our offer to patients impacted by rare and complex diseases regionally,” he added.

Takeda, which has a presence in Jeddah and Riyadh, was last year named best employer in the Middle East for the second consecutive year and also received the Top Employers Institute’s prestigious Global Top Employer status for the fourth year in a row.

In July 2017, the Saudi Food and Drugs Authority mandated the private sector to boost the employment of Saudi nationals, as part of its Saudization program.

Rodriguez said: “Saudization is a priority for us, and we are exceeding the government’s requirements. The required number for customer-facing teams was 80 percent by December 2020, and we are currently at 84 percent. By June, we are expecting a 100 percent Saudization as per the guidance.”

He noted Takeda’s proud record of hiring female employees. “At the beginning of 2020, we more than doubled the number of females in our organization.”


Saudi Arabia sees record IPOs requests, 50% rise in managed assets, says CMA chief

Saudi Arabia sees record IPOs requests, 50% rise in managed assets, says CMA chief
Updated 03 August 2021

Saudi Arabia sees record IPOs requests, 50% rise in managed assets, says CMA chief

Saudi Arabia sees record IPOs requests, 50% rise in managed assets, says CMA chief
  • Elkuwaiz says assets under management by financial institutions have increased by 50 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is seeing a record interests from companies to sell shares to the public, while the size of the assets under management by financial institutions increased by 50 percent to SR600 billion over 3 years, the chairman of the country’s capital market authority said.

The increase in the volume of assets under management (AUM) had impact on the financial market and has contributed to opening new investments areas such as the launch of financial derivatives market, which made a debut last year, Mohammed Elkuwaiz said in panel hosted by the Financial Academy.

The authority received recently 30 requests to sell shares in initial public offerings and this is the highest number the authority, known as CMA, got since its establishment, he added. 

Mohammed Elkuwaiz, CMA chairman

Saudi Arabia is implementing a huge program to modernize and develop its financial sector under the country’s vision 2030 plan. Under this program the CMA had a target to list 20 new companies in 2021 on the Saudi index through public offerings, and the authority had achieved half of this target by the end of the first half of the year, Elkuawiz said.

Interests from companies to sell shares to the public increased over the past few years with the introduction of the parallel market, known as Nomu. Elkuwaiz explained that the main market, Tadawul, targets larger and more mature companies with the ability and willingness to bear big loads in terms of disclosure data, governance, while smaller companies prefer to list on Nomu.

“Listing on Nomu is an exciting window for the small and medium size and entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia as we see the increase in IPOs interest and this is the result of the CMA strategy,” said Mohammed Ramady, an independent economic analyst and former senior banker told the Arab News in comments on Saudi financial development.

Another area where Saudi Arabia is venturing and advancing is Fintech. “We have more than 15 companies licensed as financial technology companies, which facilitates the availability of other types of financing that did not exist in the past, such as crowdfunding, which has become a boost for the financial market,” Elkuwaiz added.

The chairman of CMA also noted that foreign investments in the Saudi stock market have been positive and steady since they were allowed several years ago, with more than SR20 billion has entered Tadawul market since it was included in global indexes.

“The system of governance and disclosure in the financial market has been developed, making the Kingdom one of the world’s top 4 countries in terms of governance – something we are very proud of,” he added.


Fitch revises Egyptian bank’s outlook to stable

Fitch revises Egyptian bank’s outlook to stable
Updated 03 August 2021

Fitch revises Egyptian bank’s outlook to stable

Fitch revises Egyptian bank’s outlook to stable

RIYADH: Fitch Ratings has revised Commercial International Bank (Egypt) S.A.E.’s (CIB) outlook to stable from negative while affirming the bank’s long-term issuer default rating at “B+” and viability rating at “b+.” 

According to the ratings firm, pressures on the domestic environment have eased since the end of the third quarter of 2020 moderating downside risks to Egyptian banks’ credit profiles.

It said this reflects improving foreign currency liquidity, with the banking sector’s net foreign assets reaching $3.5 billion in April 2021, a reversal of a net foreign liability position of $5.3 billion at the end of April 2020. This was supported by a strong increase in foreign holdings of Egyptian treasuries to $29 billion in May 2021.

Fitch expects real GDP growth to accelerate to 6 percent in 2022.


Egypt’s domestic liquidity exceeds $213.9 billion

Egypt’s domestic liquidity exceeds $213.9 billion
Updated 02 August 2021

Egypt’s domestic liquidity exceeds $213.9 billion

Egypt’s domestic liquidity exceeds $213.9 billion

CAIRO: Egypt’s domestic liquidity rose to EGP 5.36 trillion ($213.9 billion) at the end of June 2021.

According to the official data, liquidity grew by 1.9 percent monthly. Domestic liquidity increased by 18.3 percent annually, compared to EGP 4.53 trillion in June 2020.

The money supply rose during June to EGP 1.25 trillion, compared to EGP 1.22 trillion in May 2021.  Money supply includes deposits in local currency and cash in circulation outside the banking system.

Last November, the Central Bank of Egypt decided to reduce both the overnight deposit and lending rate and its main operation rate by 50 basis points, to 8.25 percent, 9.25 percent, and 8.75 percent, respectively.

Last month, the central bank froze the interest rate for the fourth time this year.


Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to fight climate change

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman. (REUTERS file photo)
Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to fight climate change

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz Bin Salman. (REUTERS file photo)
  • Prince Abdul Aziz and Sharma discussed the framework of the circular carbon economy adopted by G20 leaders during Saudi Arabia’s presidency in 2020

RIYADH: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman recently held a meeting with COP26 President-designate Alok Sharma and discussed ways to enhance cooperation in confronting global climate change.
The Saudi minister highlighted the Kingdom’s qualitative initiatives to help reduce emissions and preserve the environment, foremost of which are the Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched these initiatives on March 27. These initiatives are aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the region by 60 percent through the use of clean hydrocarbon technologies and the planting of 50 billion trees, including 10 billion in Saudi Arabia.
The “green” initiatives, which are part of the Vision 2030 strategy, will place Saudi Arabia at the center of regional efforts to meet international targets on climate change mitigation, as well as help it achieve its own goals.
Prince Abdul Aziz and Sharma also discussed the framework of the circular carbon economy adopted by G20 leaders during Saudi Arabia’s presidency in 2020.
While the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region has long been a leading global supplier of fossil fuels, renewables are complementing its own energy mix, offering eco-friendly alternatives such as clean hydrogen fuel to decarbonize and reduce gas emissions.
With around 70 to 90 percent of the Arabian Peninsula facing the threat of desertification, owing to past and ongoing human activities, massive afforestation, and land restoration initiatives hold hope for millions of hectares of degraded land.
Unfortunately, in a G20 meeting held in Italian city, Naples on July 22-23, energy and environment ministers failed to agree on the wording of key climate change commitments in their final communique after China and India refused to give way on two key points.
One of these was phasing out coal power, which most countries wanted to achieve by 2025 but some said would be impossible for them.
The other concerned the wording surrounding a 1.5-2 degree Celsius limit on global temperature increases that was set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Average global temperatures have already risen by more than 1 degree compared to the pre-industrial baseline used by scientists and are on track to exceed the 1.5-2 degree ceiling.
“Some countries wanted to go faster than what was agreed in Paris and to aim to cap temperatures at 1.5 degrees within a decade, but others, with more carbon-based economies, said let’s just stick to what was agreed in Paris,” said Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani.
The G20 meeting was seen as a decisive step ahead of United Nations climate talks, known as COP26, which take place in 100 days’ time in Glasgow in November.


Saudis seek European partners to expand space program

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha met the French Ambassador for Digital Affairs Henri Verdier. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha met the French Ambassador for Digital Affairs Henri Verdier. (SPA)
Updated 03 August 2021

Saudis seek European partners to expand space program

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha met the French Ambassador for Digital Affairs Henri Verdier. (SPA)
  • Al-Swaha met COO of French National Center for Space Studies to discuss potential for partnerships in the research and scientific fields

RIYADH: Saudi officials in charge of developing the country’s space program are now traveling around Europe seeking partnerships with leading companies in a sign that the Kingdom is putting the program up on its agenda.
The chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Space Commission, Abdullah Alswaha, met in Paris on Monday with the head of Space Systems at Airbus, Jean-Marc Nasr, CEO of the Communications and Systems Group Eric Blanc, and the chairman of the board of directors of the Himmeria Group, Philippe Gautier, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
This came as part of Alswaha’s visit to the French Republic to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the field of space, it added.
The Saudi delegation also visited Britain on Friday, to enhance potential cooperation in innovation and space economy between the two countries, and build partnerships in the telecommunications sectors. Around 80 British companies in relevant fields attended the meeting with the Saudi delegation in London, SPA reported.
The Saudi delegation to London also reviewed available investment opportunities, the competitive advantages that the Kingdom enjoys as a digital and logistical platform and a hub for connecting continents, and the possibilities in the field of research, development, innovation and the space economy.