Value of conducting clinical trials in Saudi Arabia rising

From left: Dr. Abdelali Haoudi, Dr. Ahmed Alaskar, Dr. Vladimir Misik, Tamer Elmahallawy, Hany Khalifa, Raed Abdulrazek

RIYADH — Roche Products Ltd. Saudi Arabia hosted a series of seminars with Dr. Vladimir Misik from Long Taal Clinical Research & Data Analysis Company to discuss the opportunities, challenges as well as the critical components needed to have the kingdom as a hub for international clinical trials in the region.

These seminars were mainly in partnership with King Abdullah International Medical Research Centre (KAIMRC), King Fahad Medical City & Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Health Research Center, and King Saud University.

In partnership with SAGIA and SFDA, the pharma industry is playing a critical role to improve efficiency of clinical research in Saudi Arabia, said Mohamed El Ghareeb, Country Manager Roche Products Ltd, Saudi Arabia. In line with Vision 2030, Roche is committed to invest and develop clinical research capabilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure innovation reaches the Saudi patients adequately and utilize the strong infrastructure and platform in key research centers of the Kingdom.

In his lectures, Dr. Vladimir Misik affirmed that clinical trials in Saudi Arabia would provide access to approximately 5,000 Saudi patients annually to cutting edge therapies, would create more than 2,000 high-end jobs for the economy, and would bring some $160 million in R&D investment into the country annually (almost 40% of the current total annual R&D spends in the Kingdom.

Commenting on the status of clinical trials in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ahmed Alaskar, Executive Director, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC), emphasized that Saudi government is planning to improve the local pharmaceutical industry through R&D.

“There has been a tremendous development in the clinical research regulatory environment in the country to further support the progress of biomedical research from being primarily basic/fundamental research conducted on the bench to a more applied biomedical research that is being translated into clinical applications with direct impact on the patient. Facilities and regulatory support are being developed to cope with the need to conduct clinical trials in the country starting from phase 1,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mohamad Al-Tannir, DMD, MPH Chairperson, Clinical & Applied Research Department Research Center King Fahad Medical City, indicated that in the past few years, there have been numerous updates to policy and guidelines governing the conduct of clinical research in Saudi Arabia and regulations have evolved positively to favorably support clinical research in Saudi Arabia while appropriately balancing patient safety as well.

On the other hand, Dr. Abdullah M. Aldahmash, General Director of Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Health Research Center, King Saud University agreed that clinical research in Saudi Arabia is in the increase and it has recently seen generous support from the government reflected by significant increases in scientific publications. — SG