By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter
A South Korean company specialising in genome editing has announced plans to initiate the development of treatments for genetic diseases in Qatar with local collaboration.
“Qatar stands out in the Gulf region as a centre for medical excellence, having global educational institutions providing research and development (R&D), training, and education for the future pioneers in the field of medicine and science.
“We at G+FLAS have recognised this and have initiated our goal of establishing a centre in Doha to share our R&D experience in genome editing, CRISPR PLUS technology,” the company said in a statement.
G+FLAS, which is based in South Korea, was founded in 2014 by its CEO, Dr Sunghwa Choe, and specialises in CRISPR-Cas genome editing technology and applicational technology development; product development and production of biomedicine, and anti-cancer drugs, among others; plant-derived pharmaceuticals; genetic disease treatment; precision targeted therapy; CRISPR Cancerase; non-GMO; novel seed for arid lands; and ‘future food’.
“Through the efforts of Mr Dae Ho Kim, G+FLAS Life Sciences will be establishing a base in Qatar to carry forward its R&D, in collaboration with the local medical and agro-related research industry.
“Mr Kim comes with over 40 years of Middle East experience and will be heading the locally-established company. Already, patents for Qatar have been filed and several more are in the process. G+FLAS Life Sciences would be established in the country as soon as Mr Kim and his team could visit Qatar,” the statement explained.
Only recently, Qatar’s ambassador to the Republic of Korea Mohamed bin Ahmad al-Hayki visited the G+FLAS headquarters in Seoul to gain insight on the technology and understand the progress achieved and what is in the pipeline, Kim told Gulf Times yesterday.
“Currently we are working on treatments and vaccines for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, Fabry disease, Covid-19, and herpes zoster to name a few that are under development,” Kim said.
According to Choe, G+FLAS is targeting its Covid-19 vaccine to be ready “by the fall of next year.”
Kim said, “We look forward to working with Qatar’s officials in the medical and agriculture sector to discuss and help in ways of enhancing this field as both areas co-exist with one another and our technology definitely can make a difference. We will not just talk; we already are at the implementation stage.”
“It will perform the same level of work as its main company in South Korea, perform joint R&D locally and in South Korea, manufacture and license out technology, provide advisory, training and consultation, hold IP, and, in the long run, become an essential part of Qatar’s medical and food industry,” Kim stressed.
“At Osong, plans for the construction of a large-scale plant hotel are in the pipeline. When completed, it will be a cGMP grade facility providing the mass manufacture of medicine and vaccines.
“G+FLAS is also looking at the construction of a similar facility in Qatar once operations are under way, the facility will be able to provide enhanced food, as well as halal medicine and vaccines,” Kim pointed out.
Choe emphasised that Qatar already has “an impressive foundation” established under the guidance of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation, and Sidra Medicine.
Kim added that the company hopes to contribute to Qatar’s efforts to safely host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as well as to hold webinars with experts in Qatar to further knowledge exchange.
(From right) Qatar’s ambassador to the Republic of Korea Mohamed bin Ahmad al-Hayki and Dae Ho Kim listen to a presentation being delivered by G+FLAS CEO Dr Sunghwa Choe during the top diplomat’s visit to the life sciences company’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.
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