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DuBiotech to be ready by year-end

By Sreenivasa Rao Dasari

Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech) will be able to accommodate all 50 research and biotechnology companies that have leased space in it by the end of this year, as work on its headquarters nears completion, its management said.

According to a top official, the 50 companies that have taken up space in DuBiotech are currently operating out of temporary office space at different locations such as Academic City.

Marwan Abdulaziz, Director of DuBiotech, said: "Work on the headquarter and lab space is in advance stage of completion. Other service support infrastructure is ready. When the work is complete, all the 50 companies will move to the Dubai Biotechnology Park this year. So far, we have invested about $1 billion (Dh3.6bn) in developing infrastructure, labs the headquarters and other support services. We will have 225,000 square foot of research space in the labs and 450,000 sq ft of office space in the headquarters."

"We have not seen any impact of the global economic slowdown so far. We are getting a good response from the industry. We focus on both the agricultural biotechnology and industrial biotechnology areas," Abdulaziz said.

Answering a question on the widening gap between academic institutions and industry, Abdulaziz said: "This initiative will bridge the gap between the academia and the industry. We are associated with the UAE University. What industry requires will be addressed at research labs and what research develops will be commercialised in a strategic way. Key factors such as research and the commercialisation process will be given top priority at the Park. We aim to be a life sciences hub in the Middle East."

DuBiotech yesterday announced that Maquet Middle East would launch its operations at the Park. The $3bn German life sciences major will be located at the Nucleotide Complex in the Life Sciences Park, which is scheduled for completion in the second quarter this year.

"In the wake of the ongoing global economic meltdown, we have chosen Dubai as our hub to spread business activities in the Middle East. Dubai offers us a protective legal umbrella and proactive support. We expect to start our operations in the third quarter this year. We will take up sales development, sales support and application support activities at our new location," said Michael Rieder, Vice-President of Getinge Medical Systems, parent company of Maquet Middle East.

"Our facility will house virtual operating room systems and intensive care units. We are expecting revenues of $30 million in the first year of operations as against the present $20m revenues," said Salah Malek, MD of Maquet Middle East.

DuBiotech is dedicated to biotechnology and has two arms. The first, Foundation for Research and Innovation, is a lab space that focuses on R&D in medicine, genetics, plant biotechnology and agricultural biotech. The second is the headquarters space, which has been earmarked for developing the industry cluster.