IBA ready to conquer the Middle East


At the start of February, a medical fair was held in Dubai. Several Belgian companies attended the event, including IBA, which was a hit thanks to its new contract with the Emirates.

Olivier Legrain, the head of IBA, took advantage of the organisation of the Arab Health Exhibition to communicate about the company's new project: the construction of a proton therapy centre in Abu Dhabi. The company, which ten years ago was a small Walloon start-up, now hires 200 people a year and has become a global group. Its current contract is worth €35 million and will start in the coming weeks. The first patients will be cared for at the start of 2019.

But, what does IBA's new project actually involve?

The proton therapy centre, which will be the first in the Middle East, will care for patients suffering from cancer. Proton therapy is a new technique which, thanks to a proton beam, makes it possible to target tumours with greater precision. Unlike traditional radiotherapy, tissue close to affected cells is not touched. However, proton therapy remains very expensive and is only used in very specific cases: for children or people suffering from brain tumours, for example.

For IBA, this new contract offers an opportunity to conquer a large region that has money and that invests actively in medical facilities. Indeed, Dubai targets the tourism industry and the medical tourism industry in particular. By 2020, the city aims to attract 500,000 foreign visitors wishing to follow a treatment in the country. In the meantime, IBA has made its mark on the market and intends to maintain its head start over its competitors.