Abu Dhabi health office, Roche team up on real-world data analysis

New research aims to better understand burden of SMA in UAE emirate

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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The department of health (DoH) in Abu Dhabi — one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — is teaming up with Roche Pharmaceuticals Middle East to advance research that aims to use real-world data to investigate the burden of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in the emirate.

The memorandum of understanding cementing the agreement was signed both by Asma Al Mannaei, executive director of the research and innovation center at the DoH, and by Mohamed Elshaarawy, general manager for Roche in the UAE. The signing took place during Abu Dhabi Global Healthcare Week, which featured more than 200 exhibitors.

While this partnership has as its focus SMA, and also Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the DOH overall has a much broader vision.

“Through international collaborations, Abu Dhabi seeks to lead research groups supported by global partners to explore the resilience and sustainability of the healthcare sector worldwide as well as expand access to quality care for patients around the world,” Al Mannaei said in a press release.

Elshaarawy said the new collaboration “is fueled by a shared vision of harnessing the power of data to drive informed decision-making within the healthcare system.”

“We are sincerely grateful for the trust, confidence, and empowerment the DoH has placed in establishing this effective public-private partnership with Roche in the UAE,” Elshaarawy said.

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Collaborators seek to improve collection of real-world data

With this project, the DoH and Roche will be working together to support new frameworks for collecting real-world data from people with SMA.

“Abu Dhabi has a track record of excellence and fast-growing, future-forward, data-enabled services,” Al Mannaei said. “Serving as a hub for healthcare data, Abu Dhabi’s substantial computing power enables it to harness the potential within this data, transforming it into valuable information. This, in turn, allows us to innovate and develop novel approaches to shift healthcare towards prediction, prevention, and treatment, thereby accelerating the future of healthcare, not only for Abu Dhabi but for the global community.”

One of the major goals of the project is to monitor outcomes from SMA treatments. Roche is the maker of Evrysdi (risdiplam), an oral therapy that’s one of three disease-modifying treatments widely approved for SMA. Evrysdi and other disease-modifying treatments have been proven to slow or stop the progression of the neurodegenerative disorder, helping patients retain better motor function over time.

Through the generation, utilization, and realization of data, healthcare professionals and policymakers can unlock valuable insights, identify trends, and make evidence-based decisions.

According to Elshaarawy, “data-driven healthcare systems hold immense potential to revolutionize patient care and outcomes.”

“Through the generation, utilization, and realization of data, healthcare professionals and policymakers can unlock valuable insights, identify trends, and make evidence-based decisions. This data-driven approach enables us to optimize resource allocation, personalize treatment approaches, and ultimately achieve better patient outcomes,” Elshaarawy said.

In addition to SMA, the new project will work to improve collection of real-world data for people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which like SMA is a genetic disorder that’s characterized mainly by muscle weakness and wasting. The project also aims to bolster infrastructure for research and clinical trials, according to Roche and the DoH.

“By harnessing the full potential of data, we can improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system, ensuring that every patient receives the highest quality of care tailored to their specific needs,” Elshaarawy said.