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Zuhdi Sawalhi

CEO, ADCAN Pharma

Dr. Mohammed Abuelkhair

CEO, Propharma Medical Supplies, UAE

Local pharma firms are ramping up their international partnerships to bring the best solutions to patients in the UAE.
How has the company’s vision evolved?

Dr. Mohammed Abuelkhair Our vision started in 2005, and we have partnered with various pharmaceutical companies beyond the UAE to introduce their products to treat different medical conditions and be available to patients and providers. Some of these products are unique molecular entities that haven’t been available in the country before. We partnered with the largest Portuguese company, Bial, which has a unique central nervous system product line to treat Parkinson’s, epilepsy, general anxiety disorder, and migraine headaches. We’ve also tried to bring in products to treat certain conditions that didn’t have available medicine, such as insomnia, which is a common condition in the country. We recently partnered with a company in Brazil to bring their digital therapeutics application to treat this condition. We’ll have the first registered digital therapeutic app in the UAE to treat it, in addition to the pharmaceutical route. Additionally, we have almost 40 partners from across the continent for the treatment of neurological pain and orthopedic issues. We’ve realized private labels from Japan for a collagen line. We also partner companies from New Zealand for the treatment of scabies, and partner the number one Turkish company, Deva Pharma, for vitamin D. We also have a big ENT line since the dust and sand from weather changes greatly affect people’s health. I once conducted a study of 7,500 students revealing that the prevalence of asthma and allergy is almost 20% of the population, making it the most common acute condition people suffer from. We also have a prominent line for eczema and skin allergies. What differentiates Propharma is its strong regulatory knowledge, since I previously worked as the head of the Drug Regulatory Department at the Department of Health. Propharma has also established accounts with over 800 entities, including hospitals, pharmacies, and medical centers across the UAE. We have our own distribution fleet to deliver medicine to our clients.

Zuhdi Sawalhi ADCAN Pharma was founded in 2014 with the aim of becoming the leading site for pharmacology and hormones. In the initial phases, we focused on producing conventional pharmaceuticals generics such as tablets and capsules. The company successfully completed its first project and began to position itself as a reputable producer of general pharmaceutical products. In 2022, ADCAN embarked on Phase II of its development, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. This phase involves the production of hormones, making ADCAN Pharma the first site in the UAE to produce hormones for pharmacology in the entire region. The company has designed its state-of-the-art facility according to GMP and FDA guidelines to meet the stringent requirements for European GMP certification and FDA approval. By obtaining these certifications, ADCAN Pharma aims to expand its reach and penetrate regulated markets.

How do you hope to expand and develop?

MA Many people are now focused on prevention and on how to enhance their immune system to face COVID-19 and other diseases. We are in discussions with several Japanese companies that have excellent natural products to enhance the immune system. These products have been used for a long time for oncology patients and work to enhance general immunity. We are in the process of bringing them to the UAE. Additionally, we want to bring in other natural products that protect heart attack or stroke by lowering blood viscosity.

ZS In 2023, we aim to finalize and complete our project for hormones and oncology, which is a critical and sophisticated undertaking. We are working on a high degree of toxicity, so it is crucial to complete this project. Together with the Ministry of Health, we are working on preparing for production and registration by participating in training with the ministry, especially for hormones and oncology. The target is to start in 2023, with packaging in both areas, while 2024 will be the production phase. To succeed as a whole, we need to accelerate everything. The local pharma industry also needs protection from imports and fast-tracked treatment. While we have the privilege of being local manufacturers, we also look for the required government support to ensure our success.

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