France’s Sanofi-aventis has agreed to build a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant at King Abdullah Economic City (Kaec).

A deal was signed on 29 June between Emaar Economic City (EEC) and Sanofi-aventis to develop the Industrial Valley-based facility in three phases. The agreement was sponsored by the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (Sagia).   

The first phase of development includes building the facility, transferring technology to the Kaec site and manufacturing medical products that will serve the local population.

Surgeons at Riyadh’s National Guard King Abdulaziz Medical City estimate that one in four Saudis has diabetes. Once complete, the 35,000-square-metre facility will lead the kingdom’s production of oral anti-diabetic and cardiovascular medicine.

“We have given special attention to the pharmaceutical sector primarily because of the quality of jobs they create and the products they produce, which contribute to the well being of Saudi citizens,” says Fahd al-Rasheed, chief executive of Kaec.  

The second and third phases of development will expand operations by offering the medicine to the entire GCC. Only after the first phase proves financially viable will the second and third phases commence.  

“Sanofi-aventis’ pharmaceutical manufacturing and research activities solidifies [Kaec’s] position as a premier investment destination for knowledge industries,” says Manar al-Moneef, director general of health and life sciences at Sagia.         

In the future, Sanofi-aventis intends to collaborate with researchers from the local King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Kaust).

Four days prior to signing its deal at Kaec, Sanofi-aventis signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement to develop, manufacture and sell a new oral anti-diabetic medication.