Halal Industry

Dubai Science Park to develop halal ingredients for vaccines

Dubai Science Park (DSP) is working with pharmaceutical firms and regulatory bodies to develop halal ingredients that can be used in the production of vaccines.

In an interview with Salaam Gateway, Marwan Abdulaziz, Executive Director, DSP, said there has been some progress and discussions are ongoing with the Dubai government with regards partnerships.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Health (MoH), PhRMA, [which is] an association of pharma companies [in the U.S.], and a few regulatory bodies to develop halal ingredients for vaccines,” Abdulaziz said.

“We have made some good progress, there are some great suggestions from the companies that we are consulting and now we are discussing at the government level which route we want to take in terms of partnerships and various solutions for the best way forward,” he added.

However, Abdulaziz did not reveal details about the type of ingredients or vaccines, and when will they be finally developed.

Photo: Marwan Abdulaziz, Executive Director, DSP


A major development in the halal vaccines sector was the establishment of first mover AJ Pharma in 2014. AJ Pharma is a joint venture between Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) and Saudi Arabia’s Al Jomaih Group.  The company is working on the development of three halal vaccines -- meningococcal vaccine, a polio vaccine, and a vaccine for hand, foot and mouth disease -- at an investment of around $450 million.

A Salaam Gateway analysis highlighted that there is a growing segment of Muslim consumers demanding halal vaccines as awareness increases about the use of pork gelatin commonly used in them. 

In terms of market size, Muslim spending on pharmaceutical products was estimated at $75 billion in 2014, representing 6.7 percent of global spend. Indicative Muslim spend on vaccines was $1.8 billion in 2014 and this is projected to grow to $2.3 billion by 2020, according to Salaam Gateway analysis.

The sector could be worth $1.1 billion by 2030, according to AJ Pharma.




DSP, which partners with more than 280 businesses, offers bespoke products and services for organizations across the life sciences and energy industries. The development of halal products is on its agenda.

“We haven’t developed a certain incentive for [businesses], but we would support these companies and also help them by leveraging on relationships we have developed with Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA), Dubai Accreditation Department (DAC) and the MoH,” AbdulAziz said. 

In October 2015, two business communities, Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech) and the Energy and Environment Park (EnPark), started operating under the DSP freezone, which is part of Dubai Holding’s TECOM Group.

According to DSP, DuBiotech and EnPark have ceased to operate under their separate brandings. There was no change in the number of employees during the merger to form DSP, said DSP. Both entities have been handled by the same management and department of their parent company TECOM Group.



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Seban Scaria