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05 March 2024

Cancer drug to be produced in UAE

By VM Sathish

A Ukrainian scientist who invented a revolutionary cancer treatment medicine plans to manufacture the drug in Dubai. Dr Wassil Nowicky – who was nominated for the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2005 – said he was setting up a factory to produce Ukrain, a half-synthetic plant-based medicine.


And he intends to open special hospitals and clinics in the UAE to treat cancer patients from around the world. The anti-cancer drug market is estimated to be worth several billion dollars a year and Dr Norwicky believes he can capture a large share once production starts in 2010.


His company, Nowicky Pharma, is forming a joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Health Care, the Middle East distributor of the patented drug, to set up the factory.


“Big multinational companies have offered me up to $300 million (Dh1.1 billion) for the right to use the patent globally for 20 years,” Dr Nowicky told Emirates Business. “However, I did not sell the patent.


“Currently the product is made in Austria through a licensing arrangement and it is approved in 23 countries including the UAE. This is a new product in the region and we are studying the potential for it.”


Emirates Health Care Chairman Mutasim Al Midfa said: “We are setting up a factory in Jebel Ali and the initial investment in the project is around Dh60 million. The technology will come from Nowicky Pharma. We will market the drug in the Middle East and other parts of the world.


“The raw material is chelidonium majus, a medicinal plant that grows in Southern Europe. We will grow the plant commercially in Europe and bring its essence to Dubai to produce the drug.”


The factory will have a capacity of 500,000 ampules per year – last year 100,000 ampules were produced. Each ampule is sold for Dh950 and a patient requires 20 each month. The drug is used to treat a variety of forms of cancer. Dr Nowicky, who lives in Austria and is in his eighties, said Ukrain selectively destroyed cancer cells without damaging healthy ones.


It has been recognised as the first and only drug to do this by the US National Cancer Institute, an internationally recognised research institute. It is free of side-effects such as hair loss or extreme nausea, so no additional drugs are needed.


The Pharmacological Institute of the University of Vienna established that Ukrain is non-toxic and this has been confirmed by researchers and doctors around the world. The effectiveness of the treatment has been proved in 56 universities and research institutes by 192 scientists from 21 countries.


The results have been presented at more than 150 international medical congresses and published in around 100 scientific articles.