New biotech park
DuBiotech, or the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park, is a science park development in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was officially launched in February 2005 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and Prime Minister of the UAE.
This project was a major part of the Dubai 2010 vision to build the city’s economy on a more knowledge-based footing. It was expected to attract more biotechnology and life sciences research, development and manufacturing to the country.
DuBiotech is a subsidiary of the Government of Dubai’s holding company, Dubai Holding, and a member of Dubai Holding’s real estate unit, Tecom Investments. DuBiotech Park was set up under the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority.
Since October 2015, DuBiotech began operating with the Energy and Environment Park, EnPark, under a joint umbrella, called Dubai Science Park (DSP).
The research park is one of several freezones created in Dubai. It offers major tax advantages and services such as 50 years’ exemption from personal, income and corporate taxes, long-term land leases, full foreign ownership, state-of-the-art IT and telecommunications infrastructure, full repatriation of profits, trouble-free incorporation with little formality, government services division for registration, fast-track immigration and customs procedures.
The DuBiotech entity has two operating arms. The first is a Foundation for Research and Innovation, which focuses on government-funded research and development (R&D) in areas such as medicine, genetics, agriculture and stem cell research. The second aims to set up biotech clusters with high-quality infrastructure for incubators, research labs, manufacturing facilities and educational facilities.
The master plan of the new park, produced by Parsons and CHU2A, divides it into zones focusing on different areas, including R&D, manufacturing and commercial or office use.
DuBiotech consists of four buildings, including the DuBiotech Headquarters (Bio-HQ), which won the American Institute of Architects Honour Award for Design and Sustainability in 2007, and the Nucleotide Complex, a large-scale four-storey laboratory complex designed for company R&D use. The Nucleotide Complex became operational in December 2009 and received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in April 2010. Bio-HQ was completed in 2018.
The first phase of DuBiotech was completed at the end of 2008. During this phase, DuBiotech partnered with relevant government authorities to develop the regulatory framework needed for biotechnological and pharmaceutical research in the area. To ensure that the actual business ecosystem was followed, DuBiotech benchmarked its regulatory framework with international best practices.
The first phase saw more than 50 international life sciences companies register with DuBiotech as business partners. They include Genzyme, Pfizer, Merck Serono and Amgen.
The second phase included the completion of the Lab Nucleotide Complex and the Bio Headquarters towers. Major life sciences industrial clusters were created in the Middle East while establishing a co-operation framework among government bodies, academic institutions and business partners.
The existing life sciences companies were also relocated to the new DuBiotech headquarters and labs in the second phase. In April 2009, India-based VINS Bioproducts announced it would set up its regional headquarters at DuBiotech. In May 2010, Spain-based Flores Valles Group announced plans to establish its Middle East subsidiary at DuBiotech.
DuBiotech aims to strengthen partnerships with governmental bodies in key areas such as regulatory affairs, federal and local policies and academic projects during the second phase.
Several companies have set up offices at DuBiotech to produce medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotech products.
In March 2020, UK-based Ideal Middle East instituted an office at DuBiotech as a base for its operations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and to promote the regional healthcare industry’s digital transformation.
DSP welcomed Norway-based Jotun Group to its R&D hub in December 2019. Jotun Group, which operates in more than 100 countries, has broken ground on the land plot where it will build the new 230,000 square feet complex.
In December 2018, Pharmax opened its AED125m production facility at DSP. In April 2019, US-based Global BioTherapeutics opened its regional headquarters at DSP.
The Abu-Dhabi based New Medical Centre (NMC) Group established a biotechnology facility at the park. US-based BioMedix set up a 47,232ft² facility at DuBiotech to manufacture in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) equipment such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) requisites, run controls and proficiency panels.
Spanning an area of about 350,000ft², the Nucleotide Complex comprises state-of-the-art laboratory buildings spanning four storeys. These were custom-built for industrial and scientific R&D, analytical testing, diagnostics, equipment training activities and after-sales services, among other purposes. The complex was completed in 2009 and cost AED289m ($68m) to construct.
The LEED-certified core-and-shell lab space of the complex can accommodate up to 160 laboratory units. These are designed to meet class III bio-safety standards and guidelines. The laboratory units have unique layout customisations with a biological safety cabinet and exhaust systems for air filtration. The air exhaust and ventilation systems were designed specifically to prevent cross-contamination between lab spaces.
The complex is also equipped with sterilised high-grade stainless steel mechanical equipment to ensure required standards of hygiene are met. This equipment features pH neutralisation systems and acid-resistant drainage along with a backup power system.
The complex has four wings, A, C, T and G, named after the four nucleotide bases that make up the structure of DNA. All four wings were booked at the time the complex became operational. Companies that have agreed to relocate to the labs include MAQUET Middle East, a subsidiary of Sweden-based Getinge Group that produces operating room systems and ICUs, and phase one of the National Reference Lab, an initiative by Mubadala Healthcare in association with Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings.
US-based construction company HDR developed the DuBiotech Nucleotide Lab Complex in partnership with Kling Consult. The complex was designed by CUH2A, a company that designs scientific facilities. It will feature a pre-clinical vivarium and an animal testing laboratory spread over 10,000ft² among other amenities.
One of the world’s largest LEED-certified buildings, the DuBiotech headquarters cover a 60,000ft² area and 22 storeys. The building was designed by CUH2A.
In 2007, DuBiotech won the Design and Sustainability Honour Award from the American Institute of Architects for the technologically complex headquarters. The building’s design is intended to reflect a DNA movement in gel electrophoresis, a technique commonly used in the industry. The two towers are flanked through a jewel case that contains the business centre and retail facilities.
The buildings have been situated and designed to make maximum use of natural light, but also to minimise solar gain without resorting to more expensive AC cooling systems. The HQ will also have a 500,000ft² animal reserve for indigenous conservation and wildlife protection.
The pre-built units are designed mainly for showrooms, distribution, storage, logistics and light manufacturing for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. With a focus on manufacturing research and development, this land can be leased by third-party investors. The total leasable land is around 8.2 million square feet with flexibility in size, starting from 38,000ft².
DuBiotech Business Centre offers furnished offices that cater to small and medium-sized companies and start-ups.
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