As a Rockefeller College educated bioscientist and the WestView Information Science Editor, I’ve the privilege of sharing my journey. On January 11, 2023, a non-addictive ache killer found utilizing mobile expertise I invented at Rockefeller was the topic of an IPO submitting with the U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee. On this article, I describe the underlying expertise and why I, a die-hard New Yorker, consider the UAE is the perfect place to understand its full potential.

Rockefeller University biotech inventor Dr. Kambiz Shekdar speaks at Dubai Science Park in the UAE. Photo credit: DSP

Rockefeller College biotech inventor Dr. Kambiz Shekdar speaks at Dubai Science Park within the UAE. Picture credit score: DSP

Organic science offers with the human cell. Cells that precisely mimic human illness are basic for discovery of recent medicine. Nonetheless, in a sea of cells engineered to mannequin illness, solely a tiny quantity are appropriate. Detecting and isolating the optimum cells is awfully troublesome.

My PhD advisor, the late Gunter Blobel, MD, PhD, 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medication, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at The Rockefeller College, is the daddy of up to date cell biology. As a graduate pupil in Gunter’s lab for eight years, I toiled day and night time utilizing all of the tedious and unreliable conventional strategies to craft wanted cells.

My innovation was an concept to automate and enhance the system. The College offered again the patent rights to Gunter and I as a result of ‘the loopy concept would by no means work,’ however we did carry it to work. Now efficiently commercially validated in various companies and fields of use, together with beforehand out-of-reach targets like discovery of the non-addictive ache blocker on the heart of the upcoming IPO, the expertise opens the floodgates to usher in an period of accelerated drug discovery. However it’s the UAE, not the U.S. the place this story started, that is aware of the best way to say, “Open Sesame.”

The American Experiment started upon the invention of this new continent 500 years in the past. On a special continent, the Emirati Experiment started when seven Arab emirates united 50 years in the past. From my travels within the UAE over 4 exploratory journeys in 2022, I noticed how the management of the UAE is opening new frontiers. Different nations even have oil wealth, however it’s the UAE that has utilized it finest to advance its nation and financial system to a mind-boggling diploma. In my estimation, the poles of the world are altering. The UAE has created the circumstances to understand the complete potential of transformative applied sciences.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates. In comparison with NYC, Dubai, like Occasions Sq., is an thrilling worldwide vacation spot. In the meantime Abu Dhabi, just like the West Village, is a beating coronary heart of native life. The 2 city-states are separated by a one hour and a half taxi drive.

Largely desert just a little greater than 20 years in the past, the UAE erected the mega cities actually out of the sand. Now the oil wealthy nation is growing its non-oil sector the place biotechnology is simply one of many subsequent gushers in its sight.

In line with Catarina Caulfield, Trade-to-Campus Connector on the Workplace of Profession Exploration and Success at Rutgers College, worldwide college students not singularly prioritize america. At present, European and Asian cities are efficiently competing for the world’s brightest expertise as properly. In line with Wikipedia, “analysis reveals that there are vital financial advantages of human capital flight for the migrants themselves and for the receiving nation.”

The UAE is extending this pattern to the enterprise group utilizing variouseconomic free zones that supply incentives of every kind. As well as, topic to particular person negotiations, government-linked teams like Abu Dhabi Funding Workplace might reimburse international companies 20% of their working bills within the UAE.

Every little thing and everybody from the federal government to sovereign wealth funds to heads of enterprise incubators are all pulling in the identical route.

Technology park at the Masdar City Free Zone in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Photo credit: Kambiz Shekdar.

Know-how park on the Masdar Metropolis Free Zone in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Picture credit score: Kambiz Shekdar.

On August 17, 2022, the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala arrange a $10 Billion fund for tech offers. “The transfer comes as Abu Dhabi—a metropolis that’s among the many few globally to handle over $1 trillion in sovereign wealth capital —ratchets up efforts to plow oil income into the expertise sector and diversify its financial system,” reported Non-public Fairness Insider.

On September 13, 2022, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Government Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Basis (DFF), launched the Dubai Analysis and Growth (R&D) Program throughout a gathering on the Dubai Future Basis.

In line with the discharge, “the Program outlines Dubai’s prime priorities in analysis, growth, and innovation, and regulates initiatives, initiatives and legislations, in addition to funding and funding on this space. It additionally goals to extend home spending on such initiatives and maximize the engagement of the non-public sector in launching and funding R&D initiatives.”

Bilal Kaafarani, former head of World Innovation at The Coca-Cola Firm, says such scale of funding is in itself a type of innovation. In his ebook, “Breaking Away: How nice leaders create innovation that drives sustainable development—and why others fail,” Kaafarani supplies the the instance of Emirates Airways:

“Emirates reported internet earnings of $964 million by way of March 2010. Then it rotated and ordered thirty-two extra A3802’s valued at $11 billion, giving the corporate extra superjumbos than every other provider. To place this development in perspective, it took Lufthansa forty years to get thirty 747s within the air.” The UAE is investing in tech in the identical huge method at this time. For full disclosure, Bilal and I beforehand negotiated a strategic analysis collaboration between The Coca-Cola Firm and my first biotechnology firm, Chromocell Company, the place I served as Chief Scientific Officer.

On the subject of attracting expertise, Dubai Science Park Director Marwan Abdulaziz put the federal government’s position this fashion:

“When it comes to attractiveness and competitors, clearly, this must be pushed by the federal government to guarantee that we’re enticing sufficient as a result of let’s be sincere, we’re competing with different areas, different nations, different locations additionally need the perfect expertise, the perfect expertise, and I believe that is a vital position that the federal government must play and has to proceed taking part in.”

Abdulaziz’s remarks made throughout an October 21, 2022 occasion on “The Way forward for UAE Healthcare” at Dubai Science Park can be found at this hyperlink:

In line with a January 4, 2023 report in Nature (,  “relative to earlier eras, current papers and patents do much less to push science and expertise in new instructions” and “though the previous century witnessed an unprecedented enlargement of scientific and technological information, there are considerations that progressive exercise is slowing.”

It’s the UAE that’s taking the steps wanted to assist huge inventors, like Thomas Edison and The Wright Brothers, to not invent brighter candles and quicker automobiles, however to vary the world as we all know it.

Against this, the U.S. grant making course of has grow to be so arduous that researchers have been decreased to paper pushers, whereas the federal science-by-committee method breeds me-too science and has no crystal ball for breakthroughs. I recall my late mentor Dr. Blobel recounting his progressive analysis proposals which went on to win him each the Nobel Prize and King Faisal Prize had been roundly dismissed by NIH overview panels.

There may be additionally a provide and demand mismatch within the U.S. with extra expertise than we are able to successfully make the most of. Even with enterprise capital funding, the result’s that extra predictable applied sciences that supply incremental advances are funded whereas bolder, disruptive and subsequently additionally risker however transformative applied sciences that shoot for the celebs are sometimes handed up.

But taking pictures for the celebs is what is required. Take into account that at the moment, the typical FAILURE RATE IN THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY FOR THE DISCOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT OF NEW DRUGS IS A STAGGERING 98%! This factors to a dire want for enhancements in any respect levels of the method. It’s a full condemnation of enterprise as common.

This brings me again to the IPO and why I’m shifting the promising science that made it doable to the UAE. The ache blocker that’s the topic of the Chromocell Therapeutic’s submitting for an preliminary public providing with the Securities and Alternate Fee was found and developed utilizing Chromovert® Know-how. Transformative biotechnologies like Chromovert® exist, nevertheless excessive set-up price and a risk to entrenched groups who concern obsolescence stay as obstacles to entry.

There is no such thing as a legacy biopharma business within the UAE, no dinosaurs to shove apart. Stakeholders within the UAE can freely cherry-pick from their alternative of next-generation disruptive applied sciences to leap-frog the competitors. Total new pharmaceutical firms—larger and higher than Pfizer ever may very well be—will be created in a single day, precisely just like the UAE constructed its mega cities.

Chromovert® is just not a one-trick-pony, however a multi-use analysis engine to find new merchandise in quite a few companies and various fields of use. Along with its use to find non-addictive ache blockers behind the upcoming IPO, Chromovert® was utilized in pure flavors analysis collaborations with The Coca-Cola Firm, Kraft Meals and Nestle to find uncommon pure style enhancing substances to be used to chop salt and sugar within the weight loss plan. From functions in ache administration, to flavors analysis to growing a broadly relevant curing elusive illness like HIV/AIDS and past, Chromovert® is a real platform expertise. Different functions embrace cell remedy, biologics manufacturing, crop engineering and stem cell science.

Based mostly on my discussions with stakeholders within the UAE, we envision creation of “Emirati Cell Bio” as a brand new collectively owned entity to ramp up the invention engine. The USA ramped up DNA sequencing, as soon as that was automated, to provide the primary draft of the human genome as a part of the “Human Genome Challenge.”

Emirati Cell Bio is being created to for “Drug Discovery at Scale”™  to yield quite a few drug candidates for commercialization directly, every of them with a larger total probability of success in comparison with present 98% failure charges. Why ought to the FDA approve solely 20 to 50 new medical medicine a yr when numerous extra are wanted?

One of many world’s prime three nationwide genome sequencing initiatives is the Emirati Genome Challenge within the UAE. This endeavor supplies a wealth of genetic data. By actioning all that knowledge into customized and regional medication, Emirati Cell Bio stands to advance the targets of customized medication. Over time, the UAE might export and franchise the identical mannequin as Saudi Cell Bio, Nigeria Cell Bio, British Cell Bio, American Cell Bio, and many others.

Furthermore, the Center East has a inhabitants of 467 million, but no vital biopharma or biotech capabilities exterior of Israel. COVID particularly revealed the ensuing inequities on the planet’s capabilities and response. In line with Alex Costa, Senior Well being Advisor at UNICEF, this resulted in a push amongst peer NGOs to extend and improve biopharma capabilities worldwide for extra equitable responses within the face of future biomedical calamities. Growth of biopharma within the UAE is a needed development that can profit the area, its individuals, and the world.

UAE additionally has a wealth of human expertise and capital. Nationals from roughly 200 nations flock to the UAE for larger alternatives. Latest rule modifications now enable just about anybody to go to for a interval of six months, the place you routinely get hold of a short lived work visa whereas searching for everlasting work. 90% of the inhabitants within the UAE comes from overseas; solely 10% are locals. The cultural range I witnessed within the UAE makes NYC really feel like Pittsburgh.

In contrast to America which is a melting pot the place everybody turns into American, the UAE is a melting pot with “meaty chunks,” as Stephen Severance, Director of Progress within the Masdar Metropolis Free Zone in Abu Dhabi, properly places it.

I can nonetheless style the tender chunks of Pakistani fish curry hand-held between my fingers like the way you eat Pakistani meals, the Indian coriander soup with buttery paratha bread and recent pomegranate juice, the Egyptian grilled shrimp and seafood feast, the additional lemony “Beiruti” hummus, succulent lamb shank and Lebanese blended grill, the Persian Ghormeh Sabzie and tea, the Turkish espresso (I extremely suggest Maison Samira Maatouk). In drives between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, your driver would possibly cease for some “Karak” on the best way, which I extremely suggest, a sugary candy, cardamom-flavored jolt of ginger spiced bullet tea.

Past its worldwide demographics, there may be additionally a Center Jap type and movement to greetings and conferences. Introductory conferences scheduled for half-hour increase previous three or generally 4 hours, relying on for those who discover frequent floor. Authentic agendas, goals and concepts shift and increase to mirror one another extra tightly and firmly in consequence. Goodbye back-to-back half-hour Zooms.

This enterprise type instantly appeared hotter and extra acquainted to me, maybe due to my circle of relatives heritage coming from the Center East (I used to be born in Tehran, Iran and grew up in Tehran, Karachi, London, and Hong Kong earlier than shifting to america the place I at the moment dwell in New York Metropolis). Nonetheless, I believe the customs of this historical commerce route will really feel equally as heat and welcoming to anybody who’s open to it.

Within the UAE, I witnessed a veritable range of the world’s humanity constructing a brand new future. I noticed the cities the UAE constructed from out of the sand. I heard its imaginative and prescient for science in Marwan Abdulaziz’s feedback at Dubai Science Park. I’m hooked on the promise of the Emirati Experiment because it turns its successful system to biotechnology. As a New Yorker, biotech entrepreneur and world citizen, signal me up!

Final however not least, readers of my column in WestView Information learn about my efforts at Analysis Basis to Treatment AIDS (RFTCA) to make use of Chromovert® Know-how to develop a treatment for AIDS on a not-for-profit foundation (See

My colleagues and I donated our expertise to RFTCA within the area of curing AIDS. I hope the upcoming IPO will assist us discover the champions we have to create the groundswell of assist that’s nonetheless wanted to treatment AIDS worldwide.

On this article we spoke about incremental innovation versus innovation that shoots for the celebs. The usage of present AIDS medicines as “PrEP” to forestall HIV an infection is a superb new use of present instruments, and a major instance of incremental innovation. With remedy and prevention alone HIV/AIDS will fester without end (See

By including actually groundbreaking improvements like a world treatment alongside remedy and prevention, the world can do greater than dwell with HIV, we are able to wipe AIDS off the face of the earth. By now at the very least 5 individuals have been cured of AIDS utilizing stem cell methods. Chromovert® holds promise to construct a broadly out there treatment primarily based on the science underlying these index circumstances.

I’ve searched excessive and low however I can not even discover one single AIDS activist who’s championing a treatment. It’s not the science that’s limiting a treatment for AIDS, or for that matter any variety of extra illnesses. However it’s time for us to study from the UAE’s instance and prioritize the progressive applied sciences wanted to ship new medicines and cures.

The creator of this text, Rockefeller College alumnus and biotech inventor Dr. Kambiz Shekdar, PhD is co-founder and former Chief Scientific Officer of Chromocell Company, President of Analysis Basis to Treatment AIDS and CEO of Secondcell Bio. Contact [email protected]

The article was initially printed in WestView News, and reposted with the creator’s permission.

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