Cuba is seeking private partners to develop new bio-pharmaceutical products and for cooperation between laboratories, Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca told Brazilian businesspeople during a visit in S√£o Paulo.
Malmierca headed a Cuban delegation that met Oct. 9 with entrepreneurs affiliated with the¬†Federa√ß√£o das Ind√ļstrias do Estado de S√£o Paulo (Fiesp). Some 40 percent of Brazil’s biotech industry is clustered in S√£o Paulo, according to Fiesp.
“Beyond the embassy and consulate of Cuba in¬†S√£o Paulo, I believe we have to use all possible channels,” Malmierca said at the end of the meeting, according to a press release by Fiesp. “The two governments are negotiating with each other, but companies can also do that. We’re not leaving out any possibility.”
Brazilian companies are looking for cooperation with Cuba in the use of existing Cuban products, the development of new products, as well as the sale of Brazilian products in Cuba, said Ruy Baumer, a pharmaceutical industry official with Fiesp.
S√£o Paulo-based¬†Eurofarma Laborat√≥rios has been working with Cuba’s¬†CIMAB S.A. on the development of cancer products since 2006. In 2010, Eurofarma began marketing Cuban cancer drug CIMAher (nimotuzumab) in Brazil.
The two countries are already cooperating in the production of millions¬†of doses of meningococcal vaccine A+C for Africa‚Äôs ‚Äúmeningitis¬†belt,‚ÄĚ distributed by the United Nations’ World Health Organization. Cuba¬†manufactures the polysaccharide components and Brazil does the¬†formulation and completes the final product.
In 2011, Brazil and Cuba expanded their cooperation, signing agreements for joint research of cancer and diabetes drugs. Under the agreements,¬†Brazil will make and distribute a Cuban diabetes drug and 11 cancer products. The ministers also signed an agreement about clinical research cooperation on cancer vaccines.¬†If fully implemented, the¬†58 cooperation projects could generate $200 million worth of sales, according to the Brazilian health ministry.
The agreements involve Brazil‚Äôs¬†Instituto Nacional do C√Ęncer (Inca), the National Agency of Sanitary Controls (Anvisa), the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), the ministry of science and technology, and the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econ√īmico e Social (BNDES), as well as ‚Äúlarge Brazilian companies in the health sector,‚ÄĚ according to the Brazilian health ministry.
Under the 2011 agreement, Brazilian-Cuban joint ventures would not only produce and distribute Cuban drugs in Brazil, but export them to other countries.¬†Brazilian officials expect Cuban-Brazilian drug production in the South American country to contribute to the reduction of the trade deficit, because Brazil is importing nearly all its inputs.