Research and development centre
Saudi Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Centre is a research facility being constructed at the KAUST Research and Technology Park in Saudi Arabia for the development of vaccines and biopharmaceutical products.
It is the first-of-its-kind research and development centre being developed in the Middle East.
The facility is being jointly developed by Research Products Development Company (RPDC), a subsidiary of Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company (TAQNIA), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and SaudiVax, under a development and operation agreement signed in March 2018.
The ground-breaking ceremony marking the start of construction was held in December 2018, while commissioning is scheduled for 2020.
The development of Saudi Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Centre is in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 framework, which aims to accelerate Saudi technologies and create jobs in biomedical and other advanced fields. The facility will help to localise biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing industry in the region.
The project is also being sponsored by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). The Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources is supporting the project through the Industrial Clusters (IC) programme.
The Saudi Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Centre will be located at KAUST Research and Technology Park, which is a research complex currently housing 28 companies involved in research and development.
The park provides the necessary base for technology-based companies ranging from start-ups to multi-national companies to grow their business by providing access to KAUST’s laboratories, capabilities, faculty, network of flexible spaces, and the major emerging markets in the Middle East.
The state-of-the-art Saudi Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Centre will use GE Healthcare’s single-use biomanufacturing technology, FlexFactory. The technology can be deployed faster than traditional stainless steel bioreactors and offers multi-product processing in less time. The technology also allows for modification according to the production requirements.
The new facility will be used for carrying out advanced research and development activities, as well as scaling-up vaccine production to prevent epidemic risks such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.
SaudiVax also signed an agreement with Fujifilm Dayosent Biotechnology to develop MERS-CoV treatment.
The facility will follow good manufacturing practice (GMP) to produce biologic pharmaceutical products. It will serve as a national platform for innovative research to translate discoveries into pharmaceutical products.
The centre will bolster clinical trials of drug candidates and accelerate the development of novel vaccines and drugs into the market, which is strategically essential due to the huge influx of pilgrims into the country.
The facility will also serve as a training institute for the biopharmaceutical industry and support training programmes related to the industry. It will be run by fresh graduates from the science and technology field.
SaudiVax signed a co-operation agreement with GE Healthcare in March 2018 for supplying technology and equipment for the facility. GE is also working with the Ministry of Saudi Arabia for its Saudi Vision 2030 programme.
Samsung Engineering is responsible for designing and commissioning the facility under a turnkey contract.
SaudiVax is a biopharmaceutical company based in Saudi Arabia. The company aims to manufacture efficient and affordable vaccines and biopharmaceuticals for epidemic risk preparation, as well as to meet local needs.
The company currently uses several advanced technologies such as recombinant DNA technology and GE’s single-use Xcellerex bioreactors and fermenters.
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