An usufruct agreement was signed on Sunday at Doha Sheraton Hotel in Qatar between the Salalah Free Zone (SFZ) and Flex Pharmaceuticals to set up an International Complex for Pharmaceutical Industries at a cost of $365 million. The plant will produce more than 100 compound drugs. The agreement was signed by Ali bin Mohammed Tabuk, Deputy CEO for Commercial Affairs at Salalah Free Zone, and Jassim al Misnad, Chairman of the company. The complex is a strategic partnership between IBELA International and Arab Group for Investment in SFZ.
Speaking on the occasion, Al Misnad said that the idea of investment in the Sultanate is a translation of the good relations between the State of Qatar and the Sultanate and an attempt to benefit from the promising opportunities in the pharmaceutical industries in the world. He pointed out that the establishment of this International Pharmaceutical Complex comes in a bid to benefit from the Sultanate’s strategic location as a gateway to the Gulf region, its proximity to North African markets and the forecast growth in demand for vaccines in the Gulf and East Africa region.
The pharmaceutical complex will be supported by a research system, advanced labs and training centres. The project will be set up in three phases starting from 2018 and will be completed in 2021. It will cover more than 20 international markets. The project, which will include a research and development centre and world-class labs, will generate 300 job opportunities for young Omanis. He added that the technologies and knowledge used in production have been completed with a strategic partnership with international companies with which agreements have been already signed.
The company is now in the project launch stage and the factory construction works will start in the coming months.
Ali bin Mohammed Tabuk said that the pharmaceutical industries sector is one of the targeted sectors in the Free Zone plan.
It also integrates with the zone trend to attract investments that contribute to the development programmes and plans in the Sultanate.
The zone also seeks to attract more foreign investment to the industry sector in the Sultanate.
He pointed out that 110,000 square metres in Adhan area has been allocated for Flex Pharmaceutical Complex.
He affirmed that SFZ seeks to attract investors as partners to meet the needs of the development process, avail job opportunities for Omanis, provide business opportunities for national companies, and ensure optimum use of the national resources, such as airport and ports, as well as service providers in the supportive sectors.
SFZ is currently working on a new set of foreign investments that will be unveiled when formal procedures are completed.
As for the components of the project, Dr Wasem Hamad CEO of Flex Pharmaceutical Industries at SFZ, said that the company will start a production line for medicines and special vaccines to produce more than 100 drug products which include but not limited to capsules.
It will also have a department for packing antibiotics. The plant will also produce creams, syrup medicines and tablets.
It should be noted that the international pharmaceutical agencies forecast that the value of the international biotechnological sector will be about $1000 billion in 2019.
As per World Health Organization’s estimates, more than 120 new vaccines and drugs will be added to drug production line. — ONA