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World class cleanroom facilities open to support high tech Biotech startups businesses in Saudi Arabia

This week Badir for Biotechnology was proud to achieve validation of its new cleanrooms to international standards ISO 14664. Pamas Engineering undertook independent validation trials of the Badir Program facilities and declared that they easily passed the required standards. Badir is now able to offer its clients access to eight newly constructed ISO class 6 and 7 cleanrooms where they can be assured that the air quality has as low as 1000 particles per cubic foot of air, compare that to a clean kitchen in anyones home where you might normally expect several millions of particles per cubic foot.

In order to give Saudi businesses the opportunity to compete with international biotech businesses the Badir Program of KACST has invested in the establishment of a suit of cleanroom labs to help launch new biotech businesses into the Saudi Arabian and international economy.

Business incubators do their best to remove every barrier that may hinder the growth of the businesses that they select to support. The strategic study of innovation undertaken by KACST in 2008 highlighted the Biotechnology Sector as an area of strength in the Kingdom and one of the most promising business growth sectors for the country.
Dr. Rami Niazy Director of the Biotechnology Sector at the Badir Program commented “We are not aware of any other biotechnology incubator in the whole MENA region that has such a suite of cleanrooms available to its clients. In fact very few Biotech incubators anywhere in the world have such facilities. We are very proud of our achievement and look forward to seeing the businesses based in the cleanrooms grow into successful Biotech companies.

The impressive thing is that with the guidance of consultants from Oxford Innovation the incubator cleanrooms have been built completely with locally available materials and contractors. This shows that with the right expertise Saudi Arabia can replicate and compete with the best facilities anywhere in the world. Saudi Arabia already has a blooming biotech sector, especially in the health market, but soon we hope to see home grown Saudi biotech businesses staring to compete with the international players”
Eng. Barry Wheatley of Oxford Innovation Ltd. Explained “When we initially won the contract in 2009 to build the incubator for Badir at King Fahd Medical City we ensure that we had state of the art laboratories built to international standards. However, we in Oxford Innovation never imagined the quality of the projects that would come to us. It rapidly became clear that world leading cleanroom facilities were actually required if we were to give the new businesses the opportunities that they deserved. If any business wishes to undertake the development of new therapeutic materials or research reagents that may lead to new health products on the market they need to work in the cleanest of environments. These cleanrooms represent several orders of magnitude improvement in air cleanliness over the standard biotech laboratories.
The businesses based in these facilities will contribute to the growth in numbers high value jobs and increased knowledge based wealth generation in KSA and hopefully catalyze similar companies to come into existence. “

The demand for the rooms is clear already three businesses are establishing themselves in the cleanroom facilities UFC who make research reagents and petri dishes for microbiology labs etc.; Diabetes Science International who are working with the National Prawn Company on the development of a novel would dressing for diabetic foot ulcers and SOT Co who are developing a series of nanotechnology based novel cosmeceutics such as a Vitamin D cream.
In addition to the dedicated facilities in the cleanroom suite there are three shared labs that any client can book as and when they require them. Most of the companies already in Badir for Biotechnology have expressed an interest in using the shared cleanroom services and even potential clients from other parts of the Kingdom have asked if they could use the rooms.

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