Bioven to List Cuban Cancer Drug

Center-of-Molecular-ImmunologyThe Center of Molecular Immunology(CIM) in Havana. Photo courtesy: Centro de Inmunologia Molecular

CimaVax-EGF, the lung cancer vaccine developed by Cuba’s Center of Molecular Immunology is the very first therapeutic cancer vaccine.  It targets non-small-cell lung carcinoma, the most common form of lung cancer.   The CimaVax-EGF discovery was the result of a 25-year pharmaceutical research project at the Center of Molecular Immunology.

Bioven, a biotech company in Malasia headed by former Glaxo Smith Kline executive Stephen Drew, is developing the drug for late-stage lung cancer.  Bioven bought the rights to the CimaVax-EGF vaccine in 2003.  The company is planning to raise about $40m through a listing on AIM by the end of the year.

Well-funded by a Malaysian government-backed investment fund and wealthy Malaysian owners, Bioven has determined that more financing from an IPO would permit acceleration of further testing.

Clinical development work is taking place at the Beatson Cancer Institute in Glasgow. A Phase III trial involving 419 patients in ten countries started in May.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York hopes bring CimaVax to the U.S. for clinical testing by the end of 2016.  In the meantime, cancer patients from the U.S. are forced to travel to Cuba for the treatment via Canada.

Chief executive of Bioten, Mr. Drew said he was hopeful of reaching an agreement to extend its deal to the U.S. pending the lifting of the US trade embargo against Cuba.

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