This Cuban industry began with 6 scientists, a tiny lab — and Fidel Castro’s obsession

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HAVANA. When Dr. R. Lee Clark, then president of the University of Texas’ famed M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, visited the island in November 1980 as part of a delegation, the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro wanted to hear about the latest advance in cancer treatment. Clark said it was interferon — a naturally occurring protein that inhibits virus development in cells. At the time interferon was thought of as something of a wonder drug that could be used as an anti-viral and for fighting various cancers. Curiosity piqued, Castro dispatched two Cuban doctors to M.D. Anderson for training, […]

Cuba’s biotech industry expands through decades of innovation, overseas exploration

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HAVANA, June 24 (Xinhua) — Cuba’s half a billion-dollar biotechnological industry, considered key to the country’s future, is looking to expand with innovation and overseas market development. “Today we export our established products to about 50 countries, and we have a portfolio of innovative and unique drugs that are in different stages of research or clinical trials,” Merardo Pujol, business development director at Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), told Xinhua. Cuban scientists are looking to the future for new ways to create unique and innovative drugs that not only benefit the island’s population but also millions of […]