As COVID-19 continues to impact economies across the globe, life sciences companies have been put in the spotlight as the need for Health and Safety has exploded, along with the development and distribution of diagnostic kits. This has led to the industry leveraging the latest technology and collaborating with different sectors to respond to urgent needs at a rapid pace.
In order to cater to this burgeoning market, Leader Life Sciences, part of the Leader Healthcare Group, was established as a legal entity earlier this year to strengthen the knowledge economy and research infrastructure across MENA and APAC regions. Its portfolio spans turnkey solutions for research labs, molecular diagnostics, genomics, health threat intelligence tools, and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven decision support systems, among others.
Sukhdeep Sachdev, Global Chief Executive Officer, Leader Healthcare Group, told Omnia Health Magazine: “Leader Healthcare, the parent entity, has always strived to do something new. Life Sciences is all around us and we wanted to probe more into it and that’s how the idea for Leader Life Sciences was born a year ago. We have always talked about precision medicine, which provides a customised way of treating, and how we can prevent the disease, and if the disease is there how can we find ways to cure it better. This whole concept of creativity that we have been thinking about came into shape with Leader Life Sciences, which we launched at Arab Health this year.”
Leader Life Sciences provides end-to-end solutions for world-class academic labs to support research in Genomics, Extreme Medicine, Precision Medicine, Pharmacology, Toxicology, Reproductive Medicine, Biomechanics, Bio-Artificial Tissue Engineering, Biomarker Discovery, Biochemistry, Microbiology and more.
Excellence in research supports higher world university rankings for a nation. Therefore, Leader Life Sciences empowers universities to align with the global momentum towards a knowledge-based economy. A team of scientists, project managers, academicians, biomedical engineers and architects are available in-house to support universities with project planning, execution and delivery.
“Initiatives such as genomics, genetic engineering, research labs, clinical trials, etc., will require a strong infrastructure and that is where Leader Life Sciences comes in as we provide a total end-to-end solution. Our goal is for Leader Life Sciences to emerge as a lead company in providing these solutions,” said Sachdev. “We want to be close to the providers, for example, the scientists and genetic engineers, and want to be part of the solution they are looking for. We have made significant progress in this regard already. Our team comprises of highly skilled individuals who have taken up the challenge of conquering the world of life sciences!”
When it comes to the Life Sciences industry, everything has to be based on a Nation’s objective. Norms and guidelines are set up about how and when clinical trials will happen, and these will all go back to research labs. These labs could be molecular diagnostics, virology labs, biochemistry labs, etc. Leader Life Sciences has identified almost 14 different sub-specialities in research and are going to cater to it and provide complete packages. He added that the company has already signed contracts with leading firms, and these will be gradually announced. “We are cautiously watching this space as to what will help us to synergise those activities.”
Sukhdeep Sachdev (fourth from left) with the Leader Life Sciences team
Future of diagnostics
COVID-19 has led to a huge investment in the field of diagnostics. The current race to develop cost-effective point-of-contact test kits and efficient lab techniques have accelerated the pace of diagnostic innovation. Molecular diagnostics and genomics have emerged as the catalyst for preventive, regenerative, predictive and precision medicine.
Leader Life Sciences offers innovative tools for prevention of lung, colorectal, breast, uterus, thyroid, kidney, bladder, and prostate cancers. These AI-driven decision support systems for radiologists and oncologists will help to reduce the rate of missed diagnoses and support initiatives for excellence.
Sachdev highlighted: “Recently, the FDA has approved many drugs for precision testing based on gene-based testing. This space is going to get interesting and our team of researchers are keeping a tab on the situation and looking at what technologies will emerge in the future and how we can bring it closer to the people here in the industry.”
Leader Life Sciences: Enhancing efficiencies
To prepare for the future and remain relevant in the ever-evolving business landscape, companies are increasingly looking for ways to create value. The integration of AI and machine learning approaches within life sciences is making drug discovery and development more innovative, time-effective, and cost-effective. Another trend is a collaboration between biotech, medtech and IT industry to harness the power of IoT, AI, additive manufacturing and augmented reality.
The scope of Leader Life Sciences includes support for clinical trials and associated research. Sachdev explained: “Drug discovery is capital intensive. The development of gene-based therapies adds to the financial burden through a need for region-specific clinical trials. These multinational trials require country- and site-specific expertise such as drug import and sample export regulations. This is another gap addressed by Leader Life Sciences.
“Clinical trial regulations are in place within Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. The Middle East region is home to a varied patient population, with a diversity of profiles and indications. The region is especially suited for late-phase clinical trials in endocrinology, cardiology, neurology, immunology and oncology.”
Technology improvises the processes and efficiencies and the diagnostic capabilities for AI with radiology or research is going to take the treatment, diagnostics, and ultimately patient care, to the next level.
“When we talk about AI from a healthcare perspective, what will happen is that by 2024, most of the operating theatres in the region will be dominated by AI. We are not talking about taking out the human component, but we are talking about how we can enhance the activity of those people,” he stressed.
When asked about future plans, Sachdev shared that Leader Life Sciences’ aim is to consciously grow over the next three to five years and to be the leader in the life sciences space and look at how it can help biotech and pharmaceutical industries as well. The company is looking to consolidate its footprint from UAE to other parts of the Middle East and become a global company.
On a parting note, the CEO shared a message for upcoming entrepreneurs: “Don’t look at COVID-19 as a war, but a mission. Uncertainty is perfectly okay. As an entrepreneur, you must continually recalibrate your organisation’s vision for the future. New tech trends, global events, social changes, and economic shifts have always been the norm.”