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Health news from the Middle East. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

Three Gulf region healthcare sector IPOs in the first half of 2024 were worth a combined $788 million

Healthcare sector props up Gulf IPOs in 2024

The healthcare sector has emerged as a significant contributor of initial public offerings in the Gulf region during the first half of 2024, according to a report by the Kuwait Financial Centre, known as Markaz.  This comes despite an overall decline in new listings. However, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hokail Academy Specialized Digital Polyclinics Company cancelled its […]

PIF subsidiary Nupco was established in 2009 with capital of SAR 1.5 billion

Saudi Arabia’s PIF hires banks for Nupco’s $1bn IPO

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has hired banks for the initial public offering of its wholly owned subsidiary, National Unified Procurement Company (Nupco), a media report said. The sovereign wealth fund has appointed global and local bankers, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and SNB Capital, to manage Nupco’s flotation, Bloomberg reported, […]

Doctors take a rest in a Covid-19 intensive care unit. The Abu Dhabi platform hopes to help avert such devastating epidemics with AI

Abu Dhabi launches AI tender to predict epidemic threats

The Abu Dhabi Public Health Center has launched a tender for an artificial intelligence-powered platform designed to predict epidemic threats. The aim is for the platform to use AI’s ability to process extensive and complex datasets at high speed as a way to analyse both local and international outbreak trends alongside national travel patterns to […]

Patients from the GCC are travelling to India, Thailand or Egypt for cheaper medical treatment

Affordable healthcare in the GCC: a prescription for profit

The GCC’s affordable healthcare market is ripe for investment, research suggests, as patients are forced to travel to India, Thailand or Egypt to find cheap treatment. Low-income inhabitants make up about 38 percent of the Gulf’s total population, according to Mansoor Ahmed, executive director for healthcare at Colliers Middle East in Dubai. The proportion ranges […]

Workers in the Middle East in construction, oil and gas and agriculture face significant risks from extreme summer heat, which often exceeds 50°C

Heat-health warning system planned for Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is to develop an official heat-stress index and a national heat-health warning system as rising temperatures threaten public health and businesses. The Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre has issued a tender for an index tailored to the UAE’s unique climate conditions, occupational settings, and the physiological differences among its diverse population.  The UAE […]

Al-Hokail Academy to sell over 2m shares on Saudi bourse

Al-Hokail Academy Specialized Digital Polyclinics Company, a digital healthcare services provider in Saudi Arabia, will launch its initial public offering (IPO) to sell 29 percent of its capital, or over 2 million shares, on the Nomu-Parallel Market. The company has set the IPO price range between SAR118 and SAR125 ($31.46- 33.32) per share, Emirates NBD […]

Jordan's $400m Masar programme aims to equip Jordanian children and youth with the relevant skills for the labour market

World Bank to support Jordan’s social sectors

The World Bank has approved $700 million programmes to support Jordan’s health, education and social assistance sectors. The $300 million Jordan human capital programme aims to improve the governance and effectiveness of social sectors, as well as safeguard households from the adverse effects of climate change. In addition, the $400 million Masar programme will equip […]

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 […]

Iambic's new funding will be used to expand its clinical and pre-clinical cancer programmes

Mubadala and QIA invest in US cancer research startup

Funds from the UAE and Qatar have invested in a US-based clinical-stage biotechnology start-up. Mubadala Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, co-led the $50 million Series B extension in funding to Iambic Therapeutics, based in San Diego, California. The funds will allow the American start-up to broaden its pipeline of AI-discovered clinical […]

It is hoped the use of AI will speed up the time-consuming process of screening patients for cancer

Mubadala-backed US startup working on AI cancer care

A US genomics startup, backed by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, is working with ChatGPT creator OpenAI to improve cancer screening and treatment using artificial intelligence models. Color Health, which uses data science and machine learning for genetic testing and counselling in hereditary cancer and heart conditions, has developed an AI assistant, or “copilot”, […]

The NMC specialty hospital in Abu Dhabi is one of 85 the group owns and operates

NMC Healthcare weighs IPO among strategic options

The UAE hospital group NMC Healthcare has appointed Rothschild & Co as its first financial adviser, to review strategic options for its future, including a sale or initial public offering. The second financial adviser will be appointed in due course. The Abu Dhabi-headquartered healthcare provider completed its restructuring in March 2022, which included appointing a […]

Analysts say consumers believe that wearable technology can help improve their health and quality of life

Wearable tech shoppers track price as well as health

Gulf consumers who are interested in wearable tech – smart watches, rings, glasses and implants – are opting for mid-range gadgets rather than premium devices, industry experts have told AGBI. Dubai retailer Jumbo Electronics reported 50 percent year-on-year growth in the AED600-1,000 (about $163-$272) price segment in the first four months of 2024. The AED1,000-1,500 […]

Fundraising for TVM Healthcare Afiyah Fund has been led by PIF unit Jada Fund of Funds

PIF unit leads fundraising for Saudi healthcare fund

Jada Fund of Funds, wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, has led the SAR920 million ($250 million) fundraising round in a fund which aims to invest in major healthcare companies in Saudi Arabia. Other investors in the TVM Healthcare Afiyah Fund were from Saudi Arabia, the GCC and Europe, according to TVM Capital Healthcare, […]

Mads Bo Larsen, vice-president of Novo Nordisk UAE, says a local plant 'will not solve anything' in the face of the country's Ozempic shortage Video length: 3:39

UAE diabetics face Ozempic shortage due to weight-loss users

The manufacturer of Ozempic is “troubled” by the fact the drug, which was designed to help people with diabetes, is in short supply in the UAE because of the high number of consumers using it for its weight loss side-effects. Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk introduced Wegovy, a drug meant to specifically tackle obesity, to […]

Cigarette sellers in Aswan, Egypt. US company Philip Morris says it wants to give smokers in Egypt 'better options than cigarettes'

US cigarette giant buys slice of Egyptian rival

The American tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) has acquired a minority stake in Egypt’s largest cigarette manufacturer. PMI, which owns brands such as Marlboro, L&M, Merit and Parliament and is the world’s top tobacco company by market value, has bought 14.7 percent of Egypt’s Eastern Company, which also includes cigars and pipe tobacco in […]

Marina Storti, CEO of WTA Ventures, front right, and Kevin Foster, head of communications at PIF, front left, at the signing of the sponsorship agreement between the two

PIF to sponsor women’s world tennis rankings

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is giving its name to the women’s world tennis rankings, the latest sponsorship deal in the kingdom’s drive to dominate global sports.  “The PIF WTA Rankings will track players’ journeys, and PIF will work with the WTA to celebrate and support players’ progress,” PIF said, calling the deal “multi-year”.  […]

A hospital doctor examines a cancer patient. Fakeeh, which runs four Saudi hospitals, is selling a 21.47% stake through its IPO

Healthcare group Fakeeh attracts orders of $91bn for Saudi IPO

The listing of healthcare conglomerate Fakeeh Care Group was 119 times oversubscribed by institutional investors, the Saudi stock exchange said on Tuesday. The initial public offering was set to raise $763 million but attracted orders of $91 billion, reinforcing Saudi Arabia’s dominance of the region’s IPO market this year. Fakeeh, which was founded in Jeddah […]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at a meeting last year to discuss the country's healthcare system. It is estimated that one fifth of Egypt's adult population has diabetes

Egypt misses healthcare targets as population ails

Egypt is failing to meet its healthcare spending targets, exacerbating deteriorating living standards that are leading to a rising number of illnesses and health problems. Egypt’s parliament approved legislation in 2018 to achieve universal health coverage by 2030, pledging to expand provision to include the 50 percent of Egyptians lacking insurance, according to a 2023 […]

Saudi Arabia’s Fakeeh Care to offload 21% stake in IPO

Fakeeh Care Group, one of the largest private healthcare groups in Saudi Arabia, plans to offload 21.47 percent of its stake through existing and new shares in an initial public offering (IPO). The group, which owns four hospitals in the kingdom, intends to offer 30 million new shares and 19.8 million existing shares to investors […]

In 2023 the Turkish government provided $22m in financial support to companies operating in the health services export sector

Turkey’s health tourism sector worth $2bn in 2023

Turkey’s health tourism sector generated revenue of $2.3 billion in 2023, data released by the Ministry of Trade reveals. Health service exports surged from $1.9 billion in 2022 to $2.3 billion in 2023, driven by an influx of 1.4 million health tourists, placing Turkey seventh in the global health tourism rankings. The country has 40 […]

Dr Azad Moopen, the founder chairman of Aster, retains 35 percent ownership alongside management and operational control

Aster DM completes GCC and India business split

Hospital chain Aster DM Healthcare has concluded the separation of its GCC and India businesses into two standalone entities.  As part of the separation plan, a consortium of investors led by Fajr Capital, a UAE sovereign-backed private equity firm, acquired a 65 percent stake in Aster GCC. Dr Azad Moopen, the founder chairman of Aster, […]

The UAE and Saudi Arabia in particular are investing heavily in life sciences and longevity

Abu Dhabi puts together global life sciences contender

A new company to help establish Abu Dhabi as a major global player in life sciences has been announced by the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund ADQ. The new concern, called Arcera, will act as an umbrella entity for ADQ’s shareholdings in the Swiss pharmaceutical company Acino, Birgi Mefar Group of Turkey and Egypt’s Amoun. Arcera […]