In July 2023 it was announced that Sanofi had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lifer and Arabio, two Saudi Arabian drugmakers. Through this MoU the three organisations will “explore opportunities for collaboration” to advance the country’s vaccines localisation strategy. Lifera is set to become a contract manufacturer and, with Arabio, strengthen local and regional distribution in vaccines and other pharmaceutical products.  

Fokion Sinis, Vaccines General Manager for Sanofi Greater Gulf, commented that Sanofi is “committed to increasing vaccine accessibility” and supporting Saudi Arabia’s goal of reducing its “reliance on pharmaceutical imports”. 

“This MoU further builds on this commitment, enabling us to share our global expertise and contribute to advancing the public health agenda and industrial sector development of the country.” 
Global and local partners 

Dr Ibrahim Aljufalli, Chair of the Lifera Board, is “committed” to working with global and local partners.  

“By collaborating with Sanofi, an innovative global healthcare leader, Lifera is facilitating the transfer of world-class technology and expertise to Saudi Arabia and most importantly, bringing the highest-quality vaccines to Saudi citizens, enhancing national resilience and self-sufficiency.” 

Faisal Tamer, Arabio Chair, hopes that the partnership will contribute to efforts to “prevent diseases and ensure biosecurity”.  

“We believe this potential partnership is just the beginning of the development of the Saudi biopharmaceutical sector and will create several new opportunities for talent to grow.” 

FiercePharma reports that “Sanofi already boasts a sizeable presence in the region” with over 10 million patients receiving its vaccines each year. Thanks to its quadrivalent flu vaccine, Sanofi was the top paediatric, meningitis, and influenza vaccine supplier in the Gulf in 2022, when it “doled out more than 6 million doses”. However, Sanofi is not the first to be establishing and strengthening roots in the region. Last year British AstraZeneca revealed a collaboration with G42 healthcare in Abu Dhabi to “bolster pharmaceutical production” in the UAE.  

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