[Marxism] US Govt Allows Cuban Cancer Drug Devt-NYT

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 16 13:01:55 MDT 2004

(This morning members of the Pastors for Peace
Friendshipment Caravan visited Cuba's largest
biotech facility. There they were given an
extended presentation on the research and the
vacines and other medications which have been
developed in Cuba since it took up biotech as
a method of meeting first of all the medical
needs of the island's domestic population in
light of the fall of the USSR. We learned that
there are now over THIRTY TWO patented Cuban 
products which have are available in the USA.

(How many MORE products stemming from the Cuban
biotech industry are being denied to the people
of the United States, due to the blockade, isn't
easy to guess. It's already been reported that a
range of Cuban medicines have already been taken
back to the US by Cuban-Americans visiting their
families on the island.


(And yet Washington at the same times continues
its desperate campaign to starve the island of
hard currency in hopes of forcing the country 
into submission. The regime in Washington also
points accusing fingers at Cuba for allegedly
violating "human rights", when Washington would
do much better to look in the mirror instead.

(Today's new development in biotechnology was
the subject of a full-page feature today which
covered the entire back page of today's DAILY
GRANMA newspaper. You can read that here:

US Govt Allows Cuban Cancer Drug Devt-NYT
July 15, 2004 6:06 p.m.

NEW YORK -- Because of its potential to save lives, the
U.S. government is allowing the development of three cancer
drugs that originated in Cuba .

According to The New York Times, a spokesman for the U.S.
State Department, which helps rule on such licenses, said
that the exception had been made because of the life-saving
potential of the experimental Cuban drugs and that the
license approval didn't represent a relaxation of U.S.
trade policy toward the island nation.

The agreement comes shortly after the Bush administration
put into effect new restrictions on visits to Cuba and cash
remittances by U.S. citizens, according to The New York

Representatives from both parties had sent letters to
Secretary of State Colin Powell, urging that permission be
granted on medical grounds, the newspaper said.

"These three drugs are claimed to be revolutionary
life-saving medications," said the spokesman, who agreed to
comment to The New York Times only if not identified by
name. "As such, upon review it was decided that the company
should have an opportunity to further research and verify
the claims about these drugs."

The U.S. Treasury Department, with the help of the U.S.
State Department, is allowing two licenses for the
development of the three drugs by YM BioSciences Inc.
(YM.T) and CancerVax Corp. (CNVX) that originated in the
Center for Molecular Immunology in Havana.

A three-way license between YM BioScience, CancerVax and
the Center for Molecular Immunology is for the development
of two preclinical drugs, while CancerVax has a separate
license with the Cuban center for the development of a
Phase II drug, CancerVax said.

"I think there are other product candidates and technology
in Cuba that could be helpful to the American people, not
just the American people but people around he world," David
F. Hale, chief executive of CancerVax, told The New York

CancerVax is a newly public company that doesn't yet have
any drugs on the market, according to The New York Times.

Hale told the newspaper he had been pursuing Cuban drugs
since he first saw a poster about the work at a U.S. cancer
conference three years ago.

CancerVax plans to test the three drugs in clinical trials
and bring them to market. The first one, Hale told The New
York Times, could reach the market in 2008 or 2009.
CancerVax is based in Carlsbad, Calif.

Under the agreement with YM, CancerVax will pay $6 million
over the next three years. If the products reach the
market, the company will pay up to $35 million more, The
New York Times reported.

Hale told the newspaper that payments to Cuba 's immunology
center during the developmental phase would be in goods
such as food or medical supplies, as a government condition
of allowing the license, to avoid providing the Cuban
government with U.S. currency.

Any payments after the drugs reach the market could be half
in cash, Hale said.

In a press release, YM BioSciences said the agreement will
see CancerVax develop two preclinical specific active
immunotherapeutics targeting HER1 and TGFa. YM is to
receive undisclosed milestone payments and will retain a
royalty interest in the two products, according to the
press release.

It said this is the first time that a Cuban-originated
biological product has been permitted to be licensed by a
U.S. company.

YM BioSciences is a cancer drug development company.

(In an item timed at 5:16 p.m. EDT (2116 GMT), the number
of drugs involved was incorrectly stated)

Company Web Site: http://www.ymbiosciences.com

U.S. Allows Cuban Biotech Deal


Published: July 16, 2004

Filed at 9:05 a.m. ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- In a rare exception to long-standing
American foreign policy, U.S. officials have approved drug
developer CancerVax Corp.'s deal with the Cuban government
to develop three experimental cancer drugs created in

It's the first such commercial deal approved by the U.S.
government between a U.S. biotechnology company and Cuba,
which has spent $1 billion building a biotechnology program
that is among the most advanced in the Third World. One of
the three drugs included in the deal attacks a cancer cell
in a novel way.

The biotechnology company announced the deal Thursday.

Government approval comes as President Bush toughens the
41-year-old economic embargo of the communist nation. On
June 30, Bush implemented new rules that sharply reduce
Cuba-bound dollar flows from the United States and curtail
visits to Cuba by cultural and academic groups as well as

CancerVax will develop the drugs in its Carlsbad
laboratories and share profits with the Cuban government if
any of the drugs are approved for sale in the United
States. CancerVax is a small, money-losing company that
doesn't have any drugs approved for sale. It just recently
began selling its stock publicly.

The deal also calls for CancerVax to pay Cuba $2 million
annually over the next three years.

CancerVax agreed to U.S. government demands to pay Cuba in
food and medicine instead of cash. The State Department
recommended approval of the deal, which was ultimately
granted by the Treasury Department.

Both departments said the U.S. government is open to
considering similar drug deals, but that it will continue
to restrict the flow of U.S. currency to Cuba.

Fidel Attends Signing of Agreement with US Company

Havana, July15 (AIN) Cuban President Fidel Castro attended
the signing of a technology transfer agreement between the
US Cancer Vax Corporation and the island´s Molecular
Immunology Center.

The accord signed with the California-based biotechnology
corporation, one of the world´s most prestigious firms in
the field of research on cancer vaccines, will boost
clinical tests and production.

This has been the first contract to have been signed
between a Cuban biotechnology research center and a US
company, and it was achieved after more than three years of
negotiations and efforts by the Cancer Vax Corporation to
obtain a license from the Treasury Department, according to
a report this Thursday by Cuban Television.

Agustin Lage M.D., director of the Center for Molecular
Immunology assured that conditions will be created for the
production of vaccines both by the US company and the Cuban
organizations in their respective nations.

We will also work to register the production processes in
the United States of America and Cuba, and to obtain the
registration in several other nations in order to be able
to start distributing the vaccines, Agustin Lage affirmed.

David Hale, vice-president of the Cancer Vax Corporation,
considered the signing of this important agreement a motive
of celebration and joy and assured that from now on the
challenge will be to work closely together to guarantee the
production of these vaccines.

The world will be watching us, the patients and their
families are waiting for these products that mean a ray of
hope amidst darkness, the US company executive added.

Donald Morton, president of the Cancer Vax Corporation sent
a message apologizing for his absence at the signing
ceremony and recognizing the work carried out by Cuba in
the research and development of candidates vaccines against

The American executive also stated his interest in boosting
joint work aimed at pushihg forwards the combat against the
terrible disease which, according to the World Health
Organization, affects more than 10 new persons every year,
a figure that is expected to increase to 15 million by

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