Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Saudi biotech strategy aims to dominate regional industry

Saudi Arabia's new strategy fouses on sectors such as genomics to make the kingdom a regional biotech leader Unsplash/National Cancer Institute
Saudi Arabia's new strategy fouses on sectors such as genomics to make the kingdom a regional biotech leader
  • Saudi biotech strategy launched
  • Aims to be global leader
  • ‘Next frontier of medicine’

Saudi Arabia has launched a National Biotechnology Strategy with the aim of becoming the region’s biotech leader by 2030 and a global leader by 2040, contributing 3 percent, or SAR130 billion ($35 billion), to non-oil GDP. 

The strategy was unveiled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the aim of improving Saudi health standards, helping achieve food and water security, and creating local industries to replace imports, the Saudi Press Agency said this week. 

The plan will focus on making Saudi Arabia the regional market leader in genomics, vaccines, plant optimisation and biomanufacturing, creating 11,000 jobs by 2030. 

Saudi Arabia has embarked on a massive economic development plan to diversify away from oil, centred on giga-projects that aim to attract tourists, create jobs for Saudis, and make the kingdom a hub for green industries. 

“Genomics is a disruptive field and the next frontier of medicine, and the kingdom aspires to become the leading genomics player in the Middle East and North Africa,” SPA said. 

“The kingdom recognises the importance of vaccines and is committed to developing innovative vaccine technologies. By localising vaccine manufacturing, the strategy aims to increase self-sufficiency and ensure timely access to vaccines for its citizens.”

The UAE, in contrast, is already home to 19 genomics startups, according to technology tracker Tracxn, engaged in industries ranging from chemical production to AI.

Saudi Arabia’s expansion plan, called Vision 2030, is set to continue after that date. The crown prince said in September Saudi Arabia would unveil Vision 2040 as early as 2027. 

The government said in December that some giga-projects could be slowed down to prevent supply bottlenecks and inflation. 

The World Bank said this month it expects Saudi GDP to grow by 4.1 percent in 2024 and 4.2 percent in 2025, rebounding from a 0.5 percent contraction in 2023 caused by Opec+ output cuts.

Latest articles

The WakeCap system being used on a construction site

Aramco adopts heat-sensing construction helmets

Saudi Aramco is deploying advanced safety helmets equipped with heat stress sensors to protect workers on some of its construction sites, a critical concern in the Gulf region’s scorching climate. The helmets, developed by Dubai and Saudi Arabia-based construction tech startup WakeCap, utilise internet-of-things (IoT) technology that monitors worker attendance, location, and safety incidents in […]

Wind turbines above the village of Kotronas in the Peloponnese region. Greece's Terna Energy invests in wind, solar, hydroelectric and pumped storage projects

Masdar buys Greece’s biggest investor in renewables

The UAE’s state-owned clean energy company Masdar is to acquire a majority share in Terna Energy of Greece. The initial deal – one of the largest in the European renewables market and the biggest ever energy transaction on the Athens Stock Exchange – is for a 67 percent stake. The price of €20 ($21.45) per […]

KBR Iraq

US firm wins $46m contract to boost Iraq infrastructure 

US engineering giant KBR has won a five-year $46 million contract to support Iraq’s infrastructure development and future energy projects, including mega-projects. The company is expanding its presence in Iraq, establishing a new office in Baghdad and said it is also considering the creation of a design centre to enhance local engineering skills. Under the […]

The UAE attracted FDI inflows of $30.7 billion last year, a 35 percent year-on-year growth

UAE ranks second in global greenfield FDI projects

A 33 percent year-on-year surge in greenfield FDI projects in the UAE catapulted the Emirates up two places to the second spot after the US in 2023. There are now 1,323 greenfield FDI project announcements, state-run Wam news agency reported, citing the World Investment Report 2024. The UAE attracted FDI inflows of $30.7 billion last […]