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Dubai Science Park chief reveals ambitious plans for 20% growth

Dubai Science Park Dubai Science Park
Innovative Life Sciences Lab has just opened a genomics testing lab at the Dubai Science Park
  • Free zone park is home to institutions from UAE health ministry to Pfizer
  • New deal signed between London Clinic and Emirates Health Service

Dubai Science Park is forecasting a 20 percent increase in the number of entities operating in the free zone, according to a senior executive.

Innovative Life Sciences Lab announced this week it had opened a genomics testing lab there, with plans to initially create over 100 jobs, increasing its headcount by 200 percent. It joins around 420 companies operating at the free zone.

Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, senior vice president of Dubai Science Park, is expecting for more interest this year, especially around digital health, mental health, biotech and pharmaceuticals.

“There is such a large amount of people coming, particularly from Europe and the US, looking at Dubai and the UAE as a positive place to live and do work,” he said. 

Established in 2005, Dubai Science Park is part of state-owned Tecom Group and home to leading institutions including the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, Pfizer, Medtronic, Olympus and Mettler Toledo.

Janahi attended the British Business Group breakfast briefing this week, where the importance of the relationship between the UK and the UAE when it comes to healthcare was discussed.

Dr Mazin Gadir, external advisor at the executive office for organisational transformation at Dubai Health Authority, said the UAE could brings UK healthcare knowhow to the region “through mutual investments” before exporting it on to Africa, Asia and the wider world.

Over 250 companies, NHS Trusts and private hospital groups from the UK attended the four-day Arab Health event in Dubai this week, which attracted in excess of 3,000 exhibitors and more than 51,000 attendees.

Among the deals signed was a memorandum of understanding between The London Clinic, one of 12 Harley Street private hospitals at the event, and the Emirates Health Service to collaborate on education and training, research and innovation and its visiting consultant programme.

Dr Gadir said the UAE could act as a “gateway” to the east, where knowledge and experience from the UK health sector could be brought to the country.

“Foreign direct investment from the UK into the UAE is important. The engine is there in the UK, you don’t need to recreate the wheel. The UAE could invest to grow more products, replicate that, test it out, bring it here and scale it up,” he said.

“People think the UAE is just 10 million people, but we’re surrounded by about three billion people within a six-hour flight.”

In March 2021 the UK and UAE agreed to invest £1 billion ($1.38 billion) in Britain’s life sciences industry.

The Sovereign Investment Partnership saw a commitment from Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company to fund the industry to the tune of £800 million over a five-year period, while the UK’s Life Sciences Investment Programme would contribute the remaining £200 million.