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Saudi’s Avalon plans massive export drive

Saudi Arabia wants to localise the production of more pharmaceutical products and at the same time expand sales to global markets Unsplash/Glsun Mall
Saudi Arabia wants to localise the production of more pharmaceutical products and at the same time expand sales to global markets
  • Avalon Pharma aims to treble revenue
  • Push to raise exports to 30%
  • More local production planned

The Saudi pharmaceuticals firm Avalon Pharma plans to treble revenue to SAR1.1 billion ($290 million), with a drive to increase exports from 10 percent to 30 percent of output.

As Saudi Arabia pushes to produce within its own borders more of the medicines it consumes, Maher Al Ghannam, managing director and CEO of Avalon Pharma, said his firm will open a SAR100 million factory by 2026, its fourth.

“We want to localise more pharmaceutical products in Saudi Arabia and expand to global markets,” he said. 

“We have a wide portfolio of generic medications, pharmaceutical products that were developed, manufactured and distributed in Saudi Arabia.” 

The country’s pharma sector is currently valued at SAR38 billion, a figure that is set to increase to SAR70 billion by 2030, the deadline that Saudi Arabia has been working towards in its vast plan to diversify its economy away from oil. 

Multinationals such as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson still dominate the market. However, their share is falling with the rise of around a dozen Saudi companies, helped by regulatory reforms and a trend for foreign pharmaceutical giants to partner with companies for local manufacture of their products. 

Al Ghannam said Avalon, which is not listed on the Saudi stock exchange, is the fourth largest pharmaceutical in the kingdom. He said the company was working closely with the Saudi Export Development Authority, using the “Made in Saudi” logo. 

There are 40 pharmaceutical factories in Saudi Arabia, covering close to 30 percent of the country’s needs.  

Al Ghannam listed three future product growth areas: obesity, oncology and cardio-metabolic medicines. He said his company was committed to research and development. 

Avalon Pharma, which began in 1998, is the leader in Saudi dermatology products. 

The company’s growth was part of a broader national strategy, Al Ghannam said. Avalon will continue to invest “millions of riyals to enhance its presence in the sector and contribute to the development of medical industries in the kingdom,” he said. 

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