As Scigeniq has grown over the last two years, we have added customers across almost all countries in the MENA region. But we have noticed an uptick in activity and interest in one country, in particular, Saudi Arabia. We have new customers in the country, so it was natural for us to participate in the 3rd Saudi International Pharma Expo held in Riyadh from October 9 to October 11.
The event was buzzing with energy and underscored two things. The first is that MENA is the 5th largest region for the pharma industry in the world, and the second is that Saudi Arabia is the largest pharma market in the region.
There were well over 100 exhibitors and 5000 attendees, so sheer size was partly responsible for that impression. But it was more than that; there was a feeling at the event that we were witnessing significant change happening quickly in MENA. With Saudi Arabia in the lead, we are seeing a shift toward local manufacturing and the emergence of an entire pharma ecosystem in the region.
The Expo is organized by a consortium of organizations, universities, and associations and underscored how diverse the industry already is in MENA, from the suppliers of raw materials to medical device companies, hospital supply providers, laboratory technology vendors, diagnostic labs, IT vendors like us and, of course, the pharma company themselves.
The event acts as a showcase for the most recent advancements in pharmacy and medical laboratories. We really got a chance to see where the industry is heading in the next few years and to confirm our own plans for extending our quality, regulatory, and document management solutions.
For us, connecting with companies and individuals from all parts of the MENA pharma ecosystem was great. As a software developer and vendor, we learned more about coming changes in the regulatory environment, got insights from quality managers and pharma leaders about their most pressing needs, and connected with our existing customers and other companies looking to invest in quality and regulatory solutions.
Most of what we heard confirmed our own thoughts. For instance, increased regulatory requirements are certainly coming to all participants in the pharma industry in the MENA region. We are very ready for that, as we already exceed those requirements and we stay very close to the regulators so that we can address new needs as requirements change.
We did leave with some new impressions, however. One is that it is impossible to overestimate the speed with which AI capabilities are being integrated into almost every aspect of the industry. That insight has already impacted our plans, and we are working closely with some of our customers to define how and where those technologies can be integrated into our suite of solutions most effectively… and quickly.
Another takeaway was that changes in the regulatory environment are coming quickly. In one significant announcement, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) announced that they are joining the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S), which will likely elevate the importance of regulatory and quality compliance across the entire pharma ecosystem.
Regarding Saudi Arabia itself, we noted a clear increase in momentum in the speed of technology adoption overall. We saw this across all segments of the Kingdom’s fast-growing life sciences industry, from clinical trials, manufacturing, laboratory testing, and distribution activities. It was another factor that led to a feeling of the country emerging as a leader in the MENA pharma market.
Our time at the event confirmed our belief that the MENA pharma market is in the middle of a dynamic, rapid growth period and that Saudi Arabia will play a significant role in that growth. We were excited to be there, and we are even more excited to be a part of a market – the MENA pharma market – that is embracing new technologies during a period of dramatic growth.
If you’re in Saudi, or anywhere in MENA and are working in your technology strategy for quality and regulatory management, consider Scigeniq’s suite of solutions. Connect with us and tell us what you need.