RIYADH, Oct 21: A Saudi company is planning to manufacture insulin with the aim of breaking the virtual monopoly of the Danish insulin maker, Novo Nordisk.

The board of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to finance a plant being set up in collaboration with Brazil’s leading biotechnology firm Biomm, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Two years ago, a Danish newspaper published 12 blasphemous cartoons that led to a boycott of Danish products in many Muslim countries.

Observing that the major human insulin supplier to the Muslim world is a Danish company, the Saudi company is trying to break its virtual monopoly.

The IDB will provide $10 million for the $55 million plant, to be set up in the Bahrah area, 30 kilometres south of Jeddah.

The plant will use the Brazilian biotechnology to produce 400 kilogrammes of genetically purified insulin crystals annually. The Saudi company said that it would use part of the insulin crystals to produce local insulin phials to meet the local demand.

The rest of the crystals will be exported as raw material.