Dr Razouki has over 15 years of experience in venture capital and private equity investment with a focus on healthcare and technology, shifting from an excellence in clinical practice and research to the management and financing of healthcare and education systems. A graduate of Columbia Business School, Dr Razouki is the first ever Arab national to receive an MBA with a focus on Healthcare Management and Finance. Dr Razouki is a member of the Hermes Honors Society of Columbia Business School, an honour bestowed on the top 1000 global alumni of the University. An Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon by training, Dr Razouki has completed clinical rotations at New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia University Medical Center, Harlem Hospital, Cleveland University Hospital of Case Western Reserve University and Mass General Hospital of Harvard University. Dr Razouki graduated with Cum Laude Honors from Creighton University with a Bachelors in Biology (Ethology) and TPP (Theology, Philosophy and Political Science).
Dr Razouki is the current Chief Investment and Business Development Officer of Kuwait Life Sciences Company (KLSC) where he is part of a team that manages over 100 million dollars in assets under management including local, regional and international investments on behalf of the Kuwait Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of Kuwait. Dr Razouki is a regional thought leader within the Middle East life sciences industry and has championed the building of strong pillars of the local life sciences ecosystem including the region’s premier pharmaceutical licensing and distribution platform; NewBridge – a 50 mn USD revenue company operating across all 22 MENA countries including Iraq, Iran and Turkey as well as South Africa, Clinart – the region’s top Clinical Research Organization (CRO) and host of the first ever Phase II Clinical Trial in the history of Kuwait at the Dasman Diabetes Institute, eCore – the region’s top active pharmaceutical ingredients licensor and distributor, the Life Sciences Academy – the region’s first ever training and development company focused on the healthcare and life sciences industry as well as Innomedics – one of Kuwait’s top medical device distribution companies that pioneered the distribution of personalized digital health products in the region.
At KLSC, Dr Razouki and his team have invested and co-invested with some of the world’s top life science venture capital funds including, New Leaf Venture Partners in New York, Wellington Partners in Munich and Kearny Venture Partners and Presidio Partners both of which are based in San Francisco. Notable investment direct and indirect investment include: CRISPR Therapeutics – a leading personalized genomic medicine company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts (NASDAQ: CRSP), iRhythm Technologies, based in San Francisco, which closed 56% above its listed stock price on the first day of its IPO (NASDAQ: IRTC), Quanta Fluid Solutions – one of the world’s first home hemodialysis manufacturers, Median Technologies – a leading global provider of medical imaging solutions, especially in the field of oncology based in France (EPA: ALMDT) and SuperSonic Imagine – a leading global provider of medical ultrasound solutions also based in France (EPA: SSI).
Describe the current relationship between healthcare and innovation in the Middle East?
Middle East countries are adopting and implementing latest innovative technologies in the healthcare sector including world class infrastructure, facilities, medical devices and digital healthcare within their respective healthcare sectors. (For example; innovative technologies such as robotic surgeries, robotic pharmacy and artificial intelligence (Google glass) were adopted in the UAE, but has been absent elsewhere). Over 700 healthcare construction projects are currently being developed in the GCC alone, with a combined estimated value of USD 65 billion. According to the latest BNC Report on the GCC Healthcare commissioned by The Big 5 Kuwait 2016, 133 of these projects are worth over USD 100 million each. However, the innovative technologies have not yet been developed significantly in MENA region.
According to most recent Kuwait Life Science Company Middle East Science Report, the MENA average for “Innovation Ranking” is 77 (out of a total 138). Qatar (18th), UAE (25th) and KSA (42nd) are the highest ranking nations in MENA. Unfortunately, none of the MENA countries rankings compare to OECD countries and the remaining MENA countries have ranked in the bottom half globally with six countries ranking in bottom third of world- which shows the necessity of addressing this issue.
Globally technology is growing its influence in healthcare, what strategies do regional institutions need to adopt to increase the adoption of innovation?
A Science and Technology Innovation (STI) strategy for MENA must focus on improving science education in universities, enhancing scientific research capacity, increasing financial support for research and the development and fostering of regional and international scientific and educational cooperation.
An online science and technology observatory should be established to monitor the science and technology scene in most of the MENA countries and highlight shortcomings in implementation.
This observatory would include a portal for research, development and innovation activities and projects, a database of technology centres and universities, a directory of MENA scientists, technologists, educationists and policy-makers, science and technology indicators, and information on conferences, symposiums and workshops in the MENA region. The strategy proposes setting up a network of science centres of excellence in the MENA countries to promote interactive approaches, excellence and innovation. This network will use selected outstanding technological institutions and research centres associated with universities in MENA region as regional hubs to facilitate cooperation through joint research projects and to promote high-level training.
MENA countries are urged to increase financial support for research and development from the present 0.3% of gross domestic product to 3%, with the private sector contributing 30% to 40%, as a target that moves them into a more reasonable health care presence compared to countries with similar GDPs; this can be made possible by creating a pan MENA fund for science and technology development, which could be supported by new financial mechanisms such as taxes and customs.
The STI strategy must focus on national and pan-Arab higher education and research initiatives in approximately 13 priority areas including biotechnology, life sciences, nanotechnology, information technology, clean water, food, agriculture technology and fishery, space, energy, desert sciences, the environment, and renewable energy.
The strategy also calls for greater mobility of scientists within the region and cooperation with international science, technology, innovation and higher education organizations.
Is artificial intelligence the medicine revolution of the 21st century? How can the Middle East benefit from it?
It could not be stated that AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the medicinal revolution of 21st Century, but AI and robotics are undoubtedly the future of healthcare, are developing and the public is ready. According to a PwC study, the majority of consumers are willing to receive care from these advanced technologies which have the potential to transform healthcare delivery to make it better, faster and more accessible for all. Most notably the report states that:
- Two-thirds of the Middle East are willing to replace human doctors with AI and robots
- A combination of clinical workforce shortages and a young, digitally savvy population in the Middle East means the region could leapfrog other countries in AI and robotics in healthcare
- Accessibility and accuracy are seen as benefits, while trust and the human element are key challenges.
On October 31, 2017, Naseba will be hosting the 3rd MENA Private Equity and Venture Capital Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The primary focus of the summit is to offer a deal flow platform that will introduce representatives of sovereign wealth funds, traditional PE and VC firms, regional conglomerates and family-owned businesses to innovative business cases from around the world.
The summit will combine insightful panels led by key regional and international tech investors and experts and pre-scheduled introductory meetings between up to 30 healthcare, life science and ICT investment opportunities and key regional investors and strategic partners, to raise capital and form strategic and commercial partnerships, in an informed and exclusive environment.
To access the Middle Eastern investors and strategic partners submit your business case here,
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Alternatively, email me at alexbnaseba.com to schedule a meeting with me.
+971 4455 7954