Havana, July 19 (IANS) Cuba is expected to introduce a new anti-cancer drug that is more effective than its predecessor, media reported.
The new drug, developed by Cuba's Labiofam Entrepreneurial Group, will be presented once the relevant research is completed, according to Jose Antonio Fraga Castro, director of the organization. He did not say when that might be, reported Xinhua.
Fraga told the state-run magazine Options he was very "impressed" by the new product, saying it is highly superior to Vidatox, an anti-cancer drug manufactured by the group which is made from the venom of the blue scorpion, endemic in Cuba.
Cancer has become the leading cause of death in Cuba, so health authorities have decided to prioritize the fight against cancer in an attempt to transform it from a fatal disease to a chronic one.
Over the past 20 years, the Cuban government has invested $1 billion in research to find a cure for cancer, which annually kills 31,000 people in the Caribbean country.
Cuba's biotechnology industry markets pharmaceutical products and vaccines in more than 50 countries. Industry officials estimate the sector could earn more than $5 billion in export revenues from 2013 to 2017, more than double of what it generated in the past five years.