Pharma Focus Asia

DoH and Penn Medicine to Expand Partnership in Translational Research, Opening Additional Labs in Abu Dhabi

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulatory body for healthcare, has entered into a second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania ("Penn Medicine"). This partnership aims to broaden their collaboration in the fields of education, research, and innovation. The focus will be on developing a translational research ecosystem and initiating innovative joint research projects using "second labs" in Abu Dhabi and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, concentrating on advanced scientific areas.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Asma Ibrahim Al Mannaei, Executive Director of the Research and Innovation Centre at DoH, and Mick Merritt, Chief Operating Officer and Lead for Global Clinical Programmes at Penn Medicine.

This collaboration will aim to create a translational medicine ecosystem inspired by Penn's Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT). Additionally, it will explore launching two multi-year collaborative research programs: one centered on the use of artificial intelligence to identify new antibiotics, and another focused on genetic studies of Alzheimer's patients in Abu Dhabi to support global prevention and early diagnosis initiatives through cross-population analysis.

Translational research is designed to turn discoveries from laboratory and clinical research into practical medical applications, thereby enhancing human health outcomes.

Dr. Asma Ibrahim Al Mannaei expressed enthusiasm for the expanded collaboration, noting the importance of the partnership between academic institutions and regulatory bodies to drive research and innovation. She highlighted Abu Dhabi's commitment to global collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the development of innovative healthcare solutions that are accessible worldwide.

The initiative will contribute to building a translational medicine and therapeutics ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, promoting the development of new treatments and enhancing the skills of healthcare professionals through research training and educational programs across various fields such as medical science, biomedical research, and health technology.

Glen Gaulton, PhD, Vice Dean and Director of the Center for Global Health at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, commented on Penn Medicine's leadership in precision medicine and innovation, noting the approval of over 25 new drugs and therapies by the U.S. FDA in recent years. He attributed this success to a strategic investment in ITMAT 20 years ago, which has cultivated a robust translational research environment. He looks forward to collaborating with colleagues in Abu Dhabi to replicate this model and invest in "second labs" to address specific research challenges and opportunities, enhancing Abu Dhabi's role as a leader in biomedical sciences with a global impact.



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