World’s first full-service medical research & development centre opens in Jordan

Published October 30th, 2008 - 07:36 GMT

A world-first is bagged by the Jordanian capital, Amman with the opening of the Philadelphia Biological and Medical Product Development Centre (on October 30).

The Centre is said to be the only healthcare product development hub worldwide that provides preclinical evaluation, full-service clinical research, core lab facilities, as well as cell engineering and culturing.

According to Peggy Farley, the Centre’s Chairperson, it is geared to place the Middle East region firmly on the map as a global medical technology leader. Farley is also co-founder of the Ascent Medical Technology Funds, including Fund II which is the financial instrument providing the funding for the project.

Recently, the Centre successfully carried out a Bioheart Inc sponsored study to support the treatment of potentially life-threatening, heart-related aliments that saw positive results of a pre-clinical study of the Adipose-Derived Stem Cells (ADSCs) therapy study for heart patients.

On the back of such break-through work, Farley predicts that the Centre will be profitable within two years.

“The turnkey output promised by the Centre will be key to prompting the establishment of business opportunities in the medical technology industry in Middle East. We expect that demand will be rife and will prompt the Centre into swift diversification and expansion,” she said.

Centre Differentiation
Farley said that the Centre will be provider of service and not just a user or purchaser of medical goods and services.

“The Centre is geared to meet all of the requirements of the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the European authorities for preclinical and clinical testing of innovative medical products. 

“We can see that lower research and development costs and the promise of high quality, coupled with better regulation than other emerging economies, sets Jordan, and thus the region, ahead of the game.
“Already we have shown international companies the reality of substantial cost savings by transferring their analysis and testing to the Jordan-based Centre,” Farley shared.
Healthcare Industry in Arabia
According to Dr Karl Groth, director of the General Partner and co-founder of Ascent Medical Technology Funds, Arabia has all the right ingredients to become a global healthcare provider.

He said that recent figures estimate that overall healthcare expenditure in the Gulf could increase by more than 400 per cent to reach US$60 billion in the next 17 years.

Presently, estimates peg that healthcare accounts for less than 10 per cent of total GNP (Gross National Product) in the region. Groth said that this could increase to 25 per cent, within the next ten years.

He noted that Arabia is poised to put its weight behind the burgeoning medical sector and that industry-wide development across regional markets will help springboard swift success, firmly placing the region on the world map as a turnkey healthcare provider.
“Internalising the medical innovation process within the Middle East means that the rewards will be broad - for investors, for inventors, for the workforce, the medical specialists, the patients, and the region’s economy,” Groth said.

The Centre currently works closely with associate centres of excellence such as the University of Jordan, Jordan University for Science and Technology, Jordan Hospital, and other of Jordan’s hospitals and Jordan’s Royal Scientific Society.

Groth and Farley have launched two medical funds including the Ascent Technology Fund II which contributed to the financing of the state-of-the art research unit in Jordan. The duo are also behind the establishment of a manufacturing unit for medical supplies in Salalah, Oman,

The Ascent Group comprises companies that provide public capital market and private equity market products and services to institutions and high net individuals. Ascent Medical Technology Fund, LP is the first of the two funds dedicated to funding innovative medical device and life science companies.

Peggy A. Farley is a Managing Director of the General Partner and co-founder of the Ascent Medical Technology Funds. She is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ascent Capital Management, Inc. Karl Groth Ph.D. is a co-founder with Farley of the Ascent Medical Technology Funds and is President and CEO of the General Partner.

Dr. Karl Groth and Peggy Farley have a long history of working together to fund innovation.

The Ascent Medical Technology Fund II, L.P. (the Fund) was established in year 2007. The Fund is dedicated to advancing medical innovation through investing in early-commercialisation stage companies based in the U.S. and the Middle East that have technologies sufficiently innovative to effect dramatic changes in the treatment of serious global health issues such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The Fund has as a condition for investment the establishment or development by the company in which it invests, whether domiciled in the US or in the Middle East, a sustainable business in the Middle East (manufacturing facility, lab, clinical research organisation, etc.) that will itself seed the emergence of a locus of medical technology activity in the Region to enable the Region to eventually compete with the U.S.

Ascent Medical Product Development Centre is the first of its kind medical centre in Jordan & is managed by the newly established company Philadelphia Biological and Medical Product Development Centre Company, PSC. It is a private shareholding company owned by the Ascent Medical Product Development Centre Inc.

The centre is one of the main four medical innovations launched by Ascent through the initial investments of the Ascent Medical Technology Fund II. Bioheart, Inc., a leader in the realm of cell therapy for heart disease, Heartland Biosciences International, a life science company and Contract Manufacturing Facility for technologically sophisticated products are other three major projects established worldwide under this fund.

The Centre is managed by the newly established company Philadelphia Biological and Medical Product Development Centre Company, PSC. It is a private shareholding company owned by the Ascent Medical Product Development Centre Inc.



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