Collaboration with international pharmaceutical company will also create life-science opportunities for Qatari students
A new partnership between Qatar Foundation and an international pharmaceutical company is aiming to advance precision medicine into mainstream clinical care in Qatar – and open up opportunities for Qatari students to gain experience in the pharma industry.
Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) and Roche have announced a three-year collaboration designed to help take more personalized, tailored treatments from the laboratory stage to the point where they are being used in primary healthcare settings.
By combining their expertise, QF RDI and Roche will develop a repeatable process that translates the outcomes of precision medicine research into clinical use in Qatar, with the first stage focusing on how genetic markers can guide diagnoses and treatment decisions for diseases such as cancer. The two partners will also create registries and repositories of genomic data to support this process.
Meanwhile, the partnership will pilot a scheme to provide six-month placements for Qatari postgraduate students in molecular biology programs at QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University and Qatar University to gain real-world experience of the life-sciences field with Roche, and heighten their awareness of career opportunities within pharmaceutical research.
“We are delighted to be entering into this collaboration on precision medicine with our newest partner, Roche,” said Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation at Qatar Foundation, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding between QF and Roche with Padraic Ward, Head of Roche Pharma International.
Qatar Foundation is determined to be at the vanguard of precision medicine development, for people in Qatar and for the wider world
“Precision medicine is one of the key advances that has taken place in the field of human healthcare. We now know that tailoring treatment to a particular subgroup of patients is certainly complex, but ultimately it is incredibly rewarding and effective and will improve disease treatment significantly.
“This demonstrates the importance of personalized medicine, particularly in a world that continues to face the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Qatar Foundation is determined to be at the vanguard of precision medicine development, for people in Qatar and for the wider world. We see this collaboration as a perfect platform for continuing this crucial work, and look forward to what we all believe will be an extremely valuable partnership.”
Mr. Ward said: “Personalized healthcare (PHC) is a cornerstone of our strategy at Roche, and we are honored and excited to work together with Qatar Foundation and jointly accelerate the realization of PHC in Qatar.
Qatar Foundation and ourselves share the vision of improving outcomes for patients at the confluence of innovative medicines, diagnostics, and data insights
“Qatar Foundation and ourselves share the vision of improving outcomes for patients at the confluence of innovative medicines, diagnostics, and data insights, and we look forward to this strategic collaboration.”
A key element of the collaboration between QF RDI and Roche will concentrate on accelerating and increasing the accuracy of disease diagnosis through using genetic markers; identifying whether diseases have a genetic root cause; and supporting clinicians to deliver precision medicine in a way that generates the best patient outcomes. The partners will also create a regulatory framework against which this work will take place.
Through the collaboration, QF RDI’s growing mass of phenotypic and ‘omics’ data, and Roche’s track record of healthcare leadership and growing capabilities in innovative Artificial Intelligence and machine learning tools, will be combined to create a vault of genomic data that can help translate precision medicine research into widespread clinical use.
The signing of the agreement between QF and Roche was also attended by Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani, Chairman of Al Faisal Holdings, the official Roche distributor in Qatar; His Excellency Edgar Dörig, Swiss Ambassador to Qatar; Dr. Ahmed Tawfik, Roche Gulf Cluster Country Manager; and Ahmed Medhat, Roche Personalized Medicine Lead.