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The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, Mass General Brigham, and International Center for Genetic Disease sign Declaration of Collaboration to Advance Life Sciences

15 Jun, 2023:

The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate, signed a Declaration of Collaboration with Mass General Brigham’s International Center for Genetic Disease (iCGD).  The agreement was signed during the BIO International Convention 2023 and is intended to advance life sciences across three strategic pillars including clinical and translational research, capacity building and technology transfer and commercialisation. Leveraging the Emirate’s advanced genomics capabilities, the agreement seeks to expand research into the domain of genomic medicine and genetic diseases in an effort to enhance access to innovative solutions and treatments for patients in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and beyond. 

In the presence of H.E. Mansoor Al Mansoori, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and Dr. Alireza Haghighi, Founding Director of the International Center for Genetic Disease, the Declaration of Collaboration was signed by Dr. Asma Ibrahim Al Mannaei, Executive Director of Research and Innovation Centre at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and by Dr. Paul Anderson, Acting Chief Academic Officer of Mass General Brigham on behalf of iCGD and MGB.

As an extension of ongoing collaborative efforts between the UAE and the USA to discover the causes of and new treatments for genetic diseases, DoH together with iCGD and MGB will drive clinical research and treatment related to prioritised global genetic diseases in areas such as rare diseases, oncology, neurology, as well as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The research collaboration will focus on analysing whole genome sequencing data of the Emirati Genome Programme, and on translational studies to develop novel therapies such as gene therapies and other effective interventions. Furthermore, both parties will explore opportunities to establish joint laboratories and genetic screening programmes in Abu Dhabi to support the discovery of genomic solutions that address international health challenges and needs. 

Amplifying the world’s largest genomics programme taking place in Abu Dhabi, the agreement also seeks to develop education and capacity-building initiatives focused on clinical genomic medicine and molecular genomic medicine to improve healthcare outcomes for the global community. 

Commenting on the occasion, Dr. Asma Ibrahim Al Mannaei, Executive Director of the Research and Innovation Centre at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) said: “Our collaboration with iCGD reaffirms our deep commitment to improving people’s lives in the UAE and beyond. Under the directives of our wise leadership, Abu Dhabi remains focused on addressing global healthcare challenges through valuable partnerships that unify efforts and magnify impact for the benefit of the global community. By leveraging the Emirate’s advanced infrastructure, we seek to boost clinical research and advance gene therapy to improve healthcare outcomes today and for generations to come. Abu Dhabi continues to set the stage for a future driven by innovation and technology, reinforcing its position as a leading destination for healthcare and life science.” 

Dr. Paul Anderson, the Acting Chief Academic Officer of Mass General Brigham (MGB), commented: "Mass General Brigham is at the global forefront of scientific innovation and medical progress. Genomic medicine is a pivotal focus for us, serving to translate ground-breaking scientific advances into actionable diagnostics and treatments. Through our research collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Department of Health we intend to leverage our collective knowledge, experience, and expertise to further advance biomedical science and enhance public health. Our International Center for Genetic Disease (iCGD) provides an excellent platform to achieve this goal. 

Reflecting on this collaboration, Dr. Alireza Haghighi, Founding Director of the International Center for Genetic Disease (iCGD) stated: “We anticipate that the collaboration between the MGB iCGD and the Abu Dhabi DOH will lead to improvements in clinical diagnosis and more effective disease prevention and management strategies. We are truly excited about the potential of this collaboration to advance medical science and believe that our combined impact will resonate beyond the UAE's borders, benefiting medical science globally”. 

Led by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), a high-profile Abu Dhabi delegation visited the United States of America (USA) between June 1st, 2023 and June 8th, 2023 to showcase the Emirate’s partnership opportunities and to explore collaborations with leading organisations in Research and Development (R&D) and manufacturing and innovation. Kicking-off in Washington DC, delegates met with existing partners to foster fresh collaborations with U.S. government bodies and health-tech giants. The transnational mission culminated in Boston, coinciding with Abu Dhabi’s participation at the BIO International Convention 2023 to exhibit the Emirate’s growth and development of its biotechnology industry. A high point was a discussion meeting featuring notable Harvard-affiliated faculty and covering topics such as large-scale genomic data interpretation, clinical implementation of genomic medicine, bioinformatics and artificial intelligence in medicine, capacity building, and novel therapeutics, the latter including gene therapies and CART-cells.  The meeting witnessed in-depth discussions about genomic and precision medicine and about potential collaborative opportunities in health-tech, life science and innovation.  It was capped off by a vibrant reception and dinner with the leadership and faculty of MGB at the Harvard Club of Boston. 

Highlighting the rich diversity and expertise within Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem, the Delegation comprised 12 key UAE entities, including the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Etihad Cargo, KEZAD Group as part of Abu Dhabi Ports (AD Ports), Acino as part of Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADQ) G42 Healthcare, M42, Mubadala Investment Company, Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), Pure Health and Daman. Together, the Abu Dhabi delegation unified over 46 prominent UAE stakeholders from diverse sectors, exemplifying the region’s commitment to innovation, knowledge exchange and international collaboration. 

Abu Dhabi continues to work in unison with global strategic partners to set the stage for a future driven by healthcare technology, innovation, and artificial intelligence as part of its transformative strategy to enhance healthcare outcomes. In sum, the Emirate is working closely with key global players in the biopharmaceutical industry to boost local and global capabilities in life science and real-world evidence, digital health and supply chain, cementing its position as a leading destination in healthcare. 

To learn more about the DOH- Abu Dhabi mission, visit: https://www.doh.gov.ae/en/Abu-Dhabi-a-regional-life-science-hub



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Last updated: 21 Jul 2024

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