Saudi biotechnology sector poised for double-digit growth: report

 Saudi Arabia's biotechnology and genomics sector is poised for significant growth, with plans to invest 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product in research and development by 2040, aiming to add $16 billion to its economy. A recent report by US-based consulting firm Arthur D. Little highlights the Kingdom's substantial growth potential in the sector. The global biotech market, valued at $1.5 trillion in 2023, is projected to reach $4 trillion by 2030, driven by increased demand for improved healthcare and investment from both government and private sectors.

The Kingdom's directed R&D investments, amounting to $3.9 billion in 2021, aim to position Saudi Arabia as a global leader in innovation and R&D. Annual investment equivalent to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2040 is expected to catalyze sector expansion, adding $16 billion to the economy and creating high-value jobs in science and technology.

In 2022, Saudi Arabia's investment in research and development surged to $5.1 billion, a 32.7 percent increase from the previous year, with the government sector contributing 58 percent of the nation's total R&D budget.

Patrick Linnenbank, a partner at Arthur D. Little, emphasized the alignment between strategic investments and growing demand for enhanced healthcare services. Initiatives such as the Saudi Genome Project 2.0 are pivotal in propelling precision medicine forward, leveraging AI and genomics for personalized healthcare solutions.

The transformative potential of AI and genomics in healthcare is underscored by Saudi Arabia's current trajectory in genomics research and development. Strategic collaborations with global pharmaceutical firms and integration of research initiatives from key entities contribute to the Kingdom's advancement in the biotech sphere.

Saudi Arabia's establishment of a regulatory framework, including guidelines from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and oversight from the Saudi Research Development and Innovation Authority, reinforces its position in the biotech landscape. However, further development of capabilities across the value chain is necessary, with accelerator and incubator programs playing a pivotal role in nurturing a thriving biotech and genomics ecosystem.

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