HAVANA, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Cuba and China plan to bolster their strategic cooperation in the biotechnological and pharmaceutical areas in the coming years, a high-ranking Cuban official said following the conclusion of a two-day bilateral conference here on Friday.
Both countries renewed for the next five years the memorandum of understanding (MoU) first signed in 2004 which established the basis for "strategic cooperation" in biotechnology, Mayda Mauri, vice president of the business group BioCubaFarma, told Xinhua in an interview.
The 10th meeting of the Joint Working Group on Biotechnology, co-organized by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and Cuba's Council of State, was held on March 28-29 in Havana with working sessions in areas like industry and biotechnology, science and technology, regulatory affairs, agriculture and health.
Some new bilateral collaboration agreements were signed at the closing ceremony while the MoU between BioCubaFarma and NDRC was renewed for the next five years.
"The agreements have to do with patent licensing and the joint development of highly innovative projects that are aimed at the treatment of cancer, autoimmune diseases, the central nervous system and cardiology," said Mauri.
Mauri highlighted growing ties in the field for more than a decade, especially through the establishment of three joint ventures in China -- two in biomedicine and one in agriculture, as well as the opening of a soft capsule plant in Havana with Chinese technology.
BioCubaFarma, the island's organization that manages and coordinates national efforts in the biomedical sector to produce medicines and medical equipment, currently carries out more than 100 research and development projects and has offered 20 of them in different phases to their Chinese counterparts, Mauri said.
"Cuba is being very flexible regarding business models because the fundamental objective is to achieve results that have an impact for the two countries and its people. Together we can have a stronger international presence in this sector, although the great challenge is to overcome regulatory barriers," she said.
China is taking the lead in BioCubaFarma's international efforts, she said, adding that the fruitful results recorded in the 15-year-long history of biotechnology cooperation not only reaffirm the importance of sustaining such collaboration over time, but also reveal the "extraordinary potential" in the future, she said.