US and Cuba have formed a biotech joint venture, called Innovative Immunotherapy Alliance, focused on the research and development of cancer drugs to prolong and improve survival of patients.
To be based in Cuba, the Innovative Immunotherapy Alliance has been established as a JV between Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in the US and Center for Molecular Immunology in Cuba.
The joint venture is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2015 trade mission to Cuba.
It provides Roswell Park with access to four cancer medicines, including CIMAvax. These drugs were not previously accessible to patients or researchers in the US, but have been approved in other markets.
Cuomo said: “This historic venture with Cuba will provide Roswell Park access to innovative cancer-fighting drugs that could revolutionise treatments and put us one step closer to eliminating the threat of cancer once and for all.
“By bringing the best and brightest together from across the world, New York is forging a path as a leader in modern medical research and advancement.”
At present, Roswell Park is conducting a clinical study to assess CIMAvax. Preliminary Phase I results of the study have been obtained and Phase II is expected to begin over the coming months.
The JV will perform additional research studies in the US for all four cancer drugs over the initial five years. Based on the results, the biotech will then pursue US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
In addition, the Innovative Immunotherapy Alliance will apply to patent discoveries from its development of cancer drugs and explore sub-licensing deals for its intellectual property rights.
It will also form research alliances and share improvements in the intellectual property on a reciprocal basis with Cuba’s CIM and CIMAB.
In the long term, the entity will enable direct or sub-licensed import and distribution of products into the US, following regulatory approval.