Trade Mission Cultivates New Partnerships in Medical Technology

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November 8, 2021

The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council concluded a successful five-day medical technology mission to Abu Dhabi and Dubai focused on expanding bilateral cooperation in medical technology. This U.S. Department of State-supported mission was conducted in partnership with the Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai.

Throughout this mission, delegates came to better understand the U.A.E.’s priorities in developing and harnessing new innovations in medical technologies, improving patient health, and creating frameworks for further collaboration with American business and key healthcare institutions. Participants met with top U.A.E. government policy makers at both the federal and Emirate levels, as well leading institutions within the private sector. They also engaged with other U.S.companies already established in the health sphere as well as key local U.S. government officials at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate.

The delegation consisted of a mix of executives from prominent American companies and hospitals that are leading innovations in the medical technology vertical. Other U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council members and partners participated in select aspects of the week’s programming.

U.S. Consul General Meghan Gregonis and the U.S. Consulate team meet and brief members of the delegation.

The mission began on the morning of Sunday 31 October with a briefing by officials from the U.S. Consulate in Dubai. After providing an overview of the U.S.-U.A.E. political and commercial relationship, U.S. Consul General Meghan Gregonis and the Consulate team highlighted the importance of medical innovation to the U.A.E.’s national vision. They also detailed how this medical technology delegation was an outgrowth of the Economic Policy Dialogue held between the U.S. and U.A.E. governments in June 2021 and the cooperation between both governments during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During a visit to the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), H.E. Dr. Amin Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary of the Health Regulations Sector, gave an overview of the U.A.E.’s efforts at establishing itself as a global hub of medical innovation and enterprise. He also discussed MOHAP’s efforts to support the U.A.E.’s Covid response through a coordinated federal response that was based on utilizing the best medical technology available to the U.A.E., including many contributions by U.S. firms.

Delegates meet with representatives of the Dubai Health Authority and the Dubai Academic Health Corporation Affiliates at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

At the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), delegates met with key officials from Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the Dubai Academic Health Corporation Affiliates, including MBRU and Al Jalila Children’s Specialist Hospital. DHA Deputy Director General Dr. Alawi Alsheikh-Ali and MBRU Vice Chancellor Dr. Amer Ahmad Sharif spoke of the opportunities for academic institutions to be the launchpad for innovative research in medical technology. Key officials also reviewed how DHA has worked to support Dubai’s health entities by creating partnerships with the private sector.

Delegates meet with representatives of Dubai Science Park.

The second day of the mission commenced with a visit to Dubai Science Park (DSP), a free zone dedicated to providing the ecosystem for innovative companies to flourish. Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of DSP, outlined the innovation taking place there and introduced the delegation to American medical companies operating out of DSP. Janahi, who also serves as Chairing Member of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Taskforce of the Dubai Industrial Strategy, spoke of Dubai’s commitment to being at the cutting edge of medical technology and how the pandemic pushed Dubai’s leadership to further emphasize the medical vertical.

The delegation then met with the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), where delegates were given a tour of the labs that are launching Dubai’s medical innovation into the future. Delegates viewed ventilators that were created by the DFF team during the pandemic, and heard from DFF leadership about the opportunities they provide startups in medical innovation and other verticals.

Delegates pose with representatives from the Dubai Future Foundation in front of the Museum of the Future.

At Emirates Towers, H.E. Mohammad Al Gergawi, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs of the U.A.E. and the Chairman of the Executive Office of H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. spoke with the delegation about Dubai’s futuristic vision and how the private sector will play an important role in realizing that vision.

That night, members of the delegation and other members of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council discussed over dinner the state of the healthcare sphere in the U.A.E. and the lessons that businesses in the U.A.E. have learned over their time in the Emirates.

 H.E. Mohammad Al Gergawi, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs of the U.A.E. and the Chairman of the Executive Office of H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council.

Wednesday morning the delegation met with Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi leadership. Dr. Nizar Zein, Chief of Staff, and Marc Petre, Chief Operating Officer, shared their experiences in the U.A.E. and their outlook on healthcare within the U.A.E. and the greater region.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), then briefed the delegation on Abu Dhabi’s investment priorities in the healthcare and medical technology fields. Delegates heard from ADIO’s healthcare FDI specialists about how Abu Dhabi wants to provide a space for innovation to flourish within the Emirate.

H.E. Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, the Undersecretary of Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH), chaired a meeting to outline Abu Dhabi’s priorities in the health vertical. H.E. Al Kaabi mentioned Abu Dhabi’s desire to be the best in patient care, medical innovation, and academic research. Dr. Omar Najm, Executive Office Director at DoH, detailed particular opportunities for expanded collaboration between DoH and American business and healthcare institutions.

His Excellency Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, and his executive team, meet with Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council, and the Business Council’s Medical Trade Mission

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) Group CEO Dr. Tareq Fathey discussed SEHA’s plans to enhance Abu Dhabi’s hospital network, and offered examples of how the private sector can be a crucial part of that change. Dr. Anwar Salam, Group Chief Medical Officer, stressed that SEHA strives to create a medical ecosystem that is on par with the best worldwide.

At G42, cutting edge artificial intelligence and cloud computing was on display with G42 Healthcare briefing the group on its future thinking in the area of medical technology. Delegates also toured G42 Healthcare’s Omics Center of Excellence, which is the largest and most technologically advanced omics facility in the Middle East and which utilizes technology supplied by U.S.-based Illumina.

Dr. Tareq Fathey, Group CEO of SEHA, and his executive team discuss SEHA’s outlook with the delegation.

At a meeting with leading officials from Mubadala Health, conversations centered on different verticals which the U.A.E. seeks to improve broadly across the health care ecosystem. Officials discussed the importance of emphasizing patient needs, and working with leaders in the industry to create advancements in medical technology.

The mission concluded its busy week at the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI). Eric Xing, President of MBZUAI, briefed the delegation on the University’s ambitions in becoming a global center of medical innovation. Delegates discussed ways in which American entities and academic institutions can contribute to strengthening the academic experience for MBZUAI students, as well as paths to collaboration in medical research.

Eric Xing, President of the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence and Danny Sebright, President of the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council.

During the course of the week, delegates also visited Expo 2020, the World Expo, which is being hosted by Dubai from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2021.

Becoming a global hub of medical innovation will continue to be an important objective of the U.A.E. in the coming years as well as an important area of bilateral cooperation between the U.S. and U.A.E. For more information, please view the Business Council’s important study of the U.A.E. Healthcare Sector here.

To learn more about the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council’s programming in this vertical, please contact Ameer Alsamman at aalsamman@usuaebusiness.org.