As World Diabetes Day is marked around the globe on 14th November, a first-of-its kind factory in the UAE is providing affordable insulin to the Middle East with the help of digitalization technology from Siemens.
Established in 1980, Julphar (Gulf Pharmaceuticals) is the first pharmaceutical manufacturer in the GCC and one of the largest in the Middle East. In order to address the increasingly critical healthcare issue of diabetes, the Julphar XI factory in Ras Al Khaimah uses a tailor-made automation solution from Siemens to produce insulin crystals, ensuring affordable insulin is available to the region’s population.
Diabetes is a growing problem in the Middle East. The rate of diabetes in parts of the Arabian Peninsula is currently more than twice the global average, and cases of type-2 diabetes outnumber cases of type-1 diabetes by a ratio of 10:1. Only recently did affordable insulin become readily in the region, and working with Siemens to automate its biotechnology process, Julphar’s XI production plant is now one of the most modern biotechnological plants producing human insulin crystals.
A tailor-made process control solution from Siemens, based on the company’s PCS-7 technology, fully automates the process of producing insulin, requiring minimal human intervention in all stages of production. This helps to both increase quality levels and keep the insulin affordable.
“The production of insulin in the UAE addresses an important – and growing - regional need, and we are proud our digitalization technology is helping to drive efficient, reliable and extremely high-quality local manufacturing,” said Bernhard Niessing, Senior Executive Vice President, Process Industries and Drives, Siemens Middle East. “These elements are crucial in any manufacturing business, but especially so when we are dealing with medicines for patients. It is our intention to continue supporting home-grown manufacturing with technology that helps local businesses compete regionally and globally; our partnership with Julphar is an excellent example of this.”
The Siemens technology allows the entire production process to be monitored remotely from a central control room, and also separately at each individual stage in the process. In addition to the automation of insulin crystal production, the technology also integrates the affiliated tank farm, the fermentation process and the communication to third-party packages. In total, Siemens technology equips Julphar with the capacity to produce up to 40 million vials of insulin per year for the regional market.
“Our people deserve no less, and with this technology we are able to produce high-quality and affordable insulin crystals right here in the UAE,” said Essam Hammad, Senior Director, Technical Operations – Biotechnology, Julphar Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries. “We have quickly been able to address a growing problem in the region by providing a product which is locally made, and we have also created local jobs and hired professionals from all across the region. At the end of the day, it’s about making life better for everyone.”
Siemens solutions and project management ensure the plant continues to improve its manufacturing process as time goes on, ultimately meaning that Julphar is able to keep improving the lives of diabetes patients across the Middle East.