HAVANA, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Cuba's biotechnology sector, one of the most developed in the Americas, gained a lot from the recent China International Import Expo in Shanghai and made the most of the event, according to a business leader.
"During the Shanghai fair, we exhaustively reviewed the work we are developing with different Chinese companies that supply raw materials to the Cuban pharmaceutical industry," said Mayda Mauri, vice president of the business group BioCubaFarma.
Mauri told Xinhua on the sidelines of BioNegotia, an event that attracted companies from 15 countries to Havana to learn about the latest business opportunities offered by Cuba's biopharmaceutical industry.
In Shanghai, some companies from the industry signed deals with Chinese suppliers "that ensure the sustainability" of trade ties "in the important sector," said Mauri.
"We updated all our businesses ties involving joint ventures and the supply of raw materials, and we also negotiated the introduction of new products and new projects," added Mauri.
In addition, Cuban industry representatives present at the expo identified new business opportunities, ranging from research and development to marketing and producing new therapies both in China and Cuba, she said.
The two countries are currently in the final stage of negotiating a new joint venture that would develop and manufacture diagnostic products in Cuba's special economic zone of Mariel, about 45 km west of Havana.
China's Changsha Sinocare will cooperate with Havana's Immunoassay Center to produce glucometers and biosensors to detect and monitor diabetes.
"We will also work together to develop new diagnostic systems," Mauri said.
A joint venture is being planned at the Fangchenggang International Medicinal Experimental Area in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to produce "biotech drugs to treat diseases that today pose serious health problems in China, such as acute myocardial infarction, diseases of the central nervous system and different types of cancers," said Mauri.
Three existing joint ventures in China have notably boosted sales for Cuba, especially the Biotech Pharmaceutical Company. The firm produces Nimotuzumab to treat advanced head and neck cancer, which is included in China's medical insurance program.
"A product designed to treat cancers, which is available to Chinese patients through the national insurance system, has led to a large increase in profits," said Mauri.
BioCubaFarma also has joint ventures with Singapore, Thailand, Spain and the United States, and technology transfer agreements with Brazil, but China is the group's top international market due to the range of bilateral cooperation.