Saudi Arabia aims for global dominance in biotechnology

Saudi Arabia aims for global dominance in biotechnology

The market size of the pharmaceuticals industry in Saudi Arabia reached SR32 billion ($8.6 billion), the largest in the region accounting for more than 30% of the Middle East market, according to Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Al-Khorayef.

Al-Khorayef reiterated, during his participation in the ministerial dialogue session at the Riyadh Global Medical Biotechnology Summit on Wednesday, that the Kingdom follows a strategic approach and comprehensive plan to build the best infrastructure for biotechnology at a global level to attract the best talent, promote innovation, and lead the country globally in health care and life sciences.


Al-Khorayef explained that the Kingdom is aware of the importance and the potential of the biotechnology sector, which is represented in the unique genetic makeup of its population, the digitization of disease records, and the clinical and academic research infrastructure that was established at a global level, to reach global leadership in biotechnology.

He added that biotechnology will shape the future by addressing more than 45% of the global burden of disease that is currently unmet, raising the value of global manufacturing inputs from 25% to more than 60%, in addition to influencing to increase investment in research and development in the private sector from 15% to more than 30%.


Al-Khorayef indicated that the chemical and pharmaceutical sector in the Kingdom is considered one of the vital sectors that have proven effective in dealing with challenges during the pandemic. There are approximately 50 registered pharmaceutical factories in the Kingdom, covering the needs of the country by 28% in terms of value and 42% in terms of volume, and exports amounting to SR1.5 million. The Vaccine and Biomedicine Industry Committee confirmed the Saudi leadership's commitment to developing this important sector, he said, adding that the committee works with 13 government agencies side by side under one umbrella to promote the concept of one-shop service stop for the first time. He also stressed that the ministry is developing the necessary legislation and regulations to localize this industry in partnership with the relevant parties and government agencies.

Vestnik Kavkaza reported earlier that the Saudi pharmaceutical market is worth about $8 billion, according to Samer Lezzaiq, Bayer’s managing director for Saudi Arabia. The market is estimated to touch $11 billion in 2026, almost as big as Egypt and the UAE combined.