US and Cuba join forces on cancer research

World Today

US and Cuba join forces on cancer research

The U.S. and Cuba are teaming up for their first joint, biotech venture. The goal is to bring new cancer treatments to America. This comes despite tense diplomatic relations between the two countries.

CGTN’s Luis Chirino filed this report from Havana.

The 36th Havana International Trade Fair opened this week with a small number of U.S. companies attending compared to previous years. The Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry from the state of Virginia explained why U.S. companies are looking toward the Cuban market.

“We’ve had sort of a continued relationship, a strong relationship here we thought is very important, and from Virginia we want to continue to maintain that.”

In a speech at the fair, Cuba’s Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca referred to a drop in U.S.-Cuba trade interest, but he also praised the setting up of the first U.S.-Cuba joint venture.

The new company, the Innovative Immunotherapy Alliance, will advance research and development of new cancer drugs. The Cuban lung cancer vaccine known as CIMAVax, already being administered on the island, will be the first drug U.S. and Cuban experts will research.

The joint venture will be based at the Port of Mariel inside the Special Economic Development Zone, to the west of Havana, home to dozens of businesses from 19 countries. This joint effort in the fight against cancer is a historic step forward in the field of bilateral relations between the scientific communities of Cuba and the United States.