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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Culture

Biocon buys into Cuban pharmaceutical joint venture

Posted April 06, 2010 by publisher in Cuba Culture.
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PharmaBiz.com Bangalore

Biocon subsidiary company Biocon SA, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the 49 per cent equity stake in Biocon Biopharmaceuticals (BBPL) and Cuban pharmaceutical joint venture between Biocon and CIMAB SA

With acquisition of a 49% stake, Biocon and CIMAB can focus on the joint development of novel biologics led by its most promising program T1h (Anti-CD6 Monoclonal antibody) which has just entered phase-III clinical trials in Psoriasis.

This partnership has already resulted in the successful launch of India’s first novel monoclonal antibody ‘BIOMAb’ for the treatment of head & neck cancer. Biocon has also established ERYPRO (erythropoietin) as a major brand in India. It will continue to provide manufacturing support for all partnered programes between CIMAB and Biocon. The two will work towards the development of T1h (Anti CD6 Monoclonal Antibody) for global markets, and the promotion of BIOMAb and ERYPRO in India and other agreed territories.

Biocon is India’s largest biotechnology company by revenue. The Group, promoted by Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, is a fully-integrated healthcare enterprise with strategic focus on biopharmaceuticals and research services.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon Group said that this move opens a new chapter in our valuable partnership with CIMAB. We see T1h (Anti CD6 Monoclonal Antibody) as a unique global opportunity that has the potential of being a best in class therapy for a range of auto-immune diseases like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

Dr Agustin Lage, heads Centre of Molecular Immunology (CIM) commented, “This restructuring of our co-operation with Biocon will enable us to focus on research, development and commercialization of our novel biopharmaceutical drugs for global markets which we consider to be the most important part of our collaboration.”

CIMAB SA is the commercial branch of the Centre of Molecular Immunology (CIM) which is one of the centers of the Scientific Pole in Cuba devoted to research, development and manufacturing human biotech products, and CIMAB the marketing company. Its research programs are focused in the areas of cancer therapeutics, autoimmune diseases and renal transplant. It utilizes its platform technology and development capabilities to facilitate the rapid and cost-effective discovery and development of novel anti-cancer drugs.

In a related story Cuba tries new holistic drug for cancer and AIDS. A batch of 160,000 tablets made from anamu, a new immune system stimulant made from leaves and young stems of anamu, a wild grass growing on the island, will be tried on patients with cancer and AIDS in Cuba.

The drug will be produced by the Pharmaceutical Laboratories Oriente in Santiago de Cuba. The 400-mg tablet, which is completely natural, will be used initially in the oncology service and also on patients with AIDS virus to prove its effectiveness.

The tablets are supported by ethnomedical reports of the plant and researches related to its traditional use and benefits. Alexander Batista, director of the Center for Toxicology and Biomedicine in Santiago, said on Monday the overall effectiveness of the drug has been demonstrated in preclinical and toxicological tests.

Researchers have hoped to provide the drug free to patients with special needs, and to sell it to the public by prescription and even to the international market.

Anamu is traditionally used in Cuba as an antispasmodic, diuretic, stimulant and sudorific, local analgesic and anti-inflammatory. It is used for arthritis, malaria, rheumatism, dermathology diseases and also memory problems.

Moreover, when used as anti-inflammatory in cases of cancer and diabetes, it has antileukemic and cytotoxic effects against several types of cancer cells.

Member Comments

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On April 08, 2010, Gringo Cubano wrote:

Are there any studies on how effective these medicines are versus the current standard treatment protocol?  I wonder if the European health authorities will test these drugs and authorize their sale in the Euro market.  That would be a stamp of approval to put Cuban drugs on par w/the world’s ‘best-in-class’. 

Otherwise it looks like they are making very cheap alternatives to market in India, Africa & other 3rd world countries for folks who want more than a home remedy or witch doctor cure.  Also, does Hugo Chavez allow Cuba to test & distribute their drugs in the Venezuelan health system?  I would think Hugo would be one of Fidel’s most enthusiastic pill-pushers!

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On April 08, 2010, publisher wrote:

Actually I have to admit the the biotech industry in Cuba is up to world class standards as far as I understand.

I don’t see the Cuban propaganda machine hyping the biotech industry or Cuban drugs.