AbbVie inks Humira packaging deal as it launches in Saudi Arabia

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

AbbVie inks Humira packaging deal as it launches in Saudi Arabia
AbbVie has teamed up with Arabio for the secondary packaging of its blockbuster biologic Humira as part of a launch into Saudi Arabian market.

Abbott Laboratories has had a presence in Saudi Arabia for 55 years but AbbVie - who span out of the company last year - has launched itself on the domestic market as an independent biopharma firm following an announcement at a local event earlier this month.

The company has committed itself as a long-term member of the Saudi healthcare industry, spokesperson Joao Belo told, with intentions to “be a strategic partner to the Saudi government and other local stakeholders.”

AbbVie manufactures the best-seller rheumatoid arthritis monoclonal antibody Humira (Adalimumab) amongst its biologics portfolio, and according to the firm’s annual report​, worldwide sales of the drug topped $10bn (€7.2bn) last year.

“Biopharmaceutical medicines are highly technical and sophisticated to produce,”​ Belo told us, and as part of the launch in Saudi Arabia he said: “AbbVie is focusing on partnering with local companies, which have the technologies and capabilities for secondary packaging of biologics.”

The firm has therefore inked an agreement with Makkah Al-Mukarramah-based firm Arabio for the packaging of Humira, which Belo confirmed is produced at a number of AbbVie’s own facilities, including sites in the US and Germany.

“Our investments and plans for the Kingdom correspond with the vision of the country’s priorities in healthcare, particularly in the areas of expanding life span, improving children’s health and treating and preventing some of the world's serious chronic diseases,”​ Belo said.

Arabio has experience working with a multinational biomanufacture having penned a 20-year agreement in 2010 with Novartis​ in a deal which the Swiss firm equipped Arabio with the ‘know-how’ of vaccine manufacturing in order to provide better access to vaccines in the Middle-East.

AbbVie’s announcement comes two months since it began work on a $320m biomanufacturing plant in Singapore​; the firm’s first manufacturing investment in Asia.

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