The two companies announced the 50:50 joint venture (JV) in January this year, and the new company has finally been established at DuBiotech, the Dubai Research and Biotechnology Park. The link-up between the companies looks to exploit Biocon's technological expertise along with Neopharma's manufacturing capabilities and local knowledge, to establish a company that will serve the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The joint venture represents Biocon's first foray into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market of six Arab states: UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar, and will see the introduction of a number of Biocon's products to these countries. According to Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, managing director of Biocon, "[the company's] long term vision is to ensure that the country is self-sufficient in terms of biopharmaceutical products." The new company seeks to develop and market niche pharmaceutical products in key therapeutic areas such as oncology, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, obesity and cardiology. According to Biocon, biotherapeutics for cardiovascular, diabetes and oncology sectors represent the fastest growing class of drugs in the $5bn (€3.7bn) GCC pharmaceutical market. The location of the new company at DuBiotech will place it at a dedicated science and biotechnology industry park, which offers the benefits of being 100 per cent tax-free as well allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership and 100 per cent repatriation of profits abroad. Neopharma has already established itself as one of the region's top pharmaceutical manufacturers, and despite being only a few years old already ranks among the top 15 companies in the UAE. The deal with Biocon significantly strengthens Neopharma's therapeutic portfolio, and ups its profile in the market for biotech products. The company's two manufacturing plants have been designed so that production of betalactan products is kept separate from manufacture of other 'general' products. The site has been designed according to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, and has large-scale production capacity for tablets, capsules and liquid orals as well as blister packaging products. Having already gained good manufacturing practice (GMP) certification from the EU authorities as well as local approval from UAE and GCC, the company's facility is also being increasingly recognised as a regional contract manufacturing hub for international pharma companies, according to Neopharma. Although also planning excursions into European markets itself, Neopharm insists that the "domestic market will continue to be in the limelight."