RIYADH — Dammam Valley in partnership with other investment partners, and Arcensus GmbH/Germany, announced the establishment of a high-throughput Saudi-German genomic center in Riyadh.
The Saudi-German Genomic Center will start operations immediately and provide comprehensive genomic diagnostic services for the GCC region based exclusively on the most sophisticated next-generation sequencing technologies.
The announcement comes as a result of the partnership between the Saudi Ministry of Investment and Dammam Valley to explore opportunities for cooperation with local and international companies and to localize science and knowledge in the biomedical sector, in addition to building policies that facilitate access for global investors and entrepreneurs into Dammam Valley.
Based on the expertise of a cross-functional, international team of geneticists, medical experts, and data scientists, the Riyadh center will reflect one of the world's most innovative genetic biotechnology organizations, provide its knowledge to clinical colleagues, collaborate with all medical decision-makers, and support the further improvement of the Saudi healthcare infrastructure in line with the Saudi Health Vision 2030. In addition, the partners believe that with the global adoption of Whole Genome Sequencing as the first line of genetic testing, the genomic era will begin in full force and conquer the molecular medicine market in a short period of time.
The initiative to establish this state-of-the-art genomic center stems from the Kingdom's goal to accelerate the implementation of genetic testing for the early diagnosis of diseases, particularly cancer and rare genetic disorders, but also address the preventive element in personalized medicine. The financial investment, facilitated by the Saudi Ministry of Investment and led by Dammam Valley will enable the partners to penetrate regional markets faster with their innovative solutions.
During the announcement ceremony held in Riyadh, Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia Khalid Al-Falih said, “Today’s launch of the Saudi-German Genome Center is strategically aligned with our mission at the Ministry of Investment to localize critical industries and reinforces Saudi Arabia’s broader, long-term vision to become a biomedical and life sciences hub globally. Saudi Arabia currently spends about 235 million euros per year on genetic testing abroad and this Center represents a step towards capturing this value locally while also expanding our reach to serve the wider GCC and potentially Iraq, Pakistan, and Egypt. The Biotech sector has shown significant socioeconomic impact with double-digit growth over recent years. Venture Capital funding in the biotech sector has expanded by 31 percent over the last five years and we congratulate Dammam Valley for closing this transaction, adding yet another pillar to the Kingdom’s initiatives in this arena which include the Saudi Human Genome Program and the Kingdom’s Research, Development, and Innovation Strategy.”
CEO of Dammam Valley Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Olayan added, “The establishment and short-term opening of such a state-of-the-art genetic center is central part of the Saudi Vision 2030 and a key element to establish knowledge and expertise in the region. Furthermore, it is a crucial element of the continuous improvement of the regional healthcare systems to the benefit of the entire population. All the knowledge we accumulate here will be used in the next step for the strategic development of a dynamic and vital pharmaceutical and biotech scene. We are pleased to have Arcensus GmbH/Germany as an internationally experienced partner at our side. Especially for the Arab world it is a great pleasure to have Dr. Arndt Rolfs, a highly accomplished, experienced and visionary multi-entrepreneur as a partner.”
Arcensus Founder and CEO Dr. Arndt Rolfs said, “Especially after Dammam Valley’s investment in the company I have founded end of 2020, Arcensus GmbH, it is a logical and purposeful step to go along the path of establishing a regional center for improving genomic diagnostics with such a proven and reliable partner. The Arab countries have the challenge of improving the early and targeted diagnosis of the numerous genetic diseases. But exactly this knowledge, which can be developed here with the local medical partners, can also serve to establish a dynamic and creative regional and, in a further step, international biotech scene. We are extremely pleased to be able to contribute with our knowledge to this success in the coming years.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Dammam Valley along with other investors, will make a substantial investment in establishing the Saudi-German Genomic Center. The parties agree that Arcensus will fully operate the center. The integrity of the protected patient data will be maintained, as will the dedicated sales, marketing and life science business activities. — SPA