ProPhase Labs, Inc., a next generation biotech, genomics and diagnostics company, today unveiled its mission to develop its diverse business units in the MENA region and in particular, the Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”) – a robust alliance of six Arab states in the Persian Gulf region, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. ProPhase aims to expand its business and form potential alliances throughout this vast region, focused on further advancing their state-of-the-art healthcare markets.
The Company notes a rapidly growing population of over 400 million and an economy projected to grow by an average of 3.5% per year from 2022 to 2025 as major factors driving this expansion. With a per capita GDP surpassing $70,000 USD on a PPP adjusted basis, the GCC holds the world’s tenth-largest GDP, positioning it just behind the U.S. ProPhase seeks to meet the demand for leading edge diagnostic and therapeutic services in the area by offering its expanded portfolio to the over 56 million residents of the GCC, and ultimately, the entire MENA region.
ProPhase has onboarded ThinkEquity and Al Ramz as advisors to navigate these strategic initiatives. ThinkEquity is a U.S.-based investment bank with global capabilities in financing and strategic advisory, while Al Ramz Corporation PJSC is a leading UAE capital markets financial institution, providing a broad range of financial solutions.
“We are dedicated to unlocking potential partnerships and exploiting our advanced technology in the region,” says Ted Karkus, CEO of ProPhase Labs. “Collaborations with our investment bankers have opened up numerous in-person negotiations with significant life sciences companies in the region, helping us identify and establish potential strategic partnerships.”
“We believe Nebula Genomics, a key focus in our expansion strategy, offers a unique proposition – a comprehensive data repository with whole genome sequencing (WGS) specimens from over 140 countries,” said Mr. Karkus. “Given the UAE government’s ambitious vision to revolutione healthcare through genomics and precision medicine, we believe the insights that our geographically diverse dataset offers aligns perfectly with this goal. Through collaboration and by leveraging our expertise and advanced technologies, we aim to significantly enhance the health and well-being of individuals across the MENA region and beyond.”
The Company plans to establish its presence in each of the countries with Nebula-branded genomic labs, funded by its potential strategic partners, with a particular focus on the UAE, where the government has made substantial investments in genomics. This initiative is aimed at establishing localed laboratories that will keep the genomic samples within the country while expanding Nebula’s library of data. Countries are often hesitant or prohibited from sending their samples across borders. The Company is also exploring offering a ‘white label’ version of its whole genome sequencing kits, branded by the local partner in exchange for a royalty and access to the data. This move would further enhance Nebula’s global reach to the 400 million inhabitants of the MENA region.
By harnessing the potential of genomics, AI, and advanced diagnostics, ProPhase aspires to profoundly impact patient outcomes and advance public health, aligning with the UAE government’s vision.
Alongside its genomics approach, ProPhase Labs is in active discussions to partner and introduce its BE-SMART Esophageal Cancer Test to the MENA region.
“We believe BE-SMART has the potential to be the gold standard of esophageal cancer testing, setting the bar for highly accurate predictive testing in this vital space. The UAE has witnessed an alarming rise in esophageal cancer cases, with an estimated 1,200 new cases reported and 600 related deaths in 2022 alone. Esophageal cancer ranks as the 10th most prevalent cancer in the UAE and the 8th leading cause of cancer-related mortality. Acknowledging this urgent healthcare concern, the UAE government has recently announced the launch of a national screening program that targets individuals at high risk of developing esophageal cancer, such as those with Barrett’s Esophagus (BE) or dysplasia. The program employs a range of screening tests like endoscopy and biopsy. By detecting and addressing the disease at its early stages, the program aims to significantly improve patient outcomes and enhance public health in the UAE. The market currently lacks a test that can predict BE progression to esophageal adeno carcinoma (EAC). BE-SMART’s high degree of sensitivity (true positive predictive ability) and specificity (true negative predictive ability) promises to change that. The BE-SMART test can potentially save many lives. At the same time, low risk patients won’t have to walk around wondering if they are going to develop EAC and be subjected to yearly endoscopies. Furthermore, this test could potentially save insurance companies billions of dollars in unnecessary endoscopy procedures.”
In parallel with these initiatives, ProPhase Labs plans to launch its over-the-counter anti-viral product, Equivir, currently under rigorous trials in India, to the MENA region, in addition to its plans to commerciale in the United States later this year. The Company believes that this low-cost, targeted solution for upper respiratory infections will be well received.
“As we advance our expansion strategy in the MENA region, ProPhase Labs remains steadfastly committed to promoting innovation, establishing partnerships, and delivering powerful solutions that enhance the health and well-being of individuals in the UAE and beyond,” concluded Mr. Karkus.