Cristina Azevedo (Fiocruz News Agency)
The partnership that allowed Fiocruz to manufacture the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 now has the chance to be expanded in the fight against other diseases. This Wednesday morning (7/5), the Foundation and AstraZeneca signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to discuss collaborations in other areas of innovation in health, including oncology and rare diseases.
The MoU was signed by Marco Krieger and Leon Wang (photo: Peter Ilicciev)
In front of the vice president of Production and Innovation in Health, Marco Krieger, and the executive vice president of AstraZeneca International Region, Leon Wang, the document was signed by the director of the Immunobiological Technology Institute (Biomanguinhos/Fiocruz), Mauricio Zuma; by the CEO of AstraZeneca Brasil, Olavo Correa; and by the general manager of AstraZeneca Investment (China), Michael Ming Long, at the Rare Works Library, at the Moorish Castle.
“Today we have begun a new era in our relationship”, said Krieger. “We started with a very impressive project. We learned a lot from the technology transfer agreement, and our teams worked in a special way. I think the next step is to work not only on technology transfer, but to try to have an innovation process”, said Krieger, accompanied by other members of Fiocruz, such as the special advisor to the Presidency, Rodrigo de Oliveira, and the coordinator of the Center for Technological Development in Health (CDTS/Fiocruz), Carlos Morel. In addition to AstraZeneca representatives, such as the executive director for Corporate Relations, Regulatory Affairs and Diagnostics for Brazil, Jorge Mazzei, also present was the deputy director of Commerce at the Embassy of the United Kingdom, Helena Crowther.
"Today we have begun a new era in our relationship”, said Krieger (photo: Peter Ilicciev)
On his first visit to Fiocruz, Chinese Leon Wang recalled that it is necessary to be prepared for the next pandemic and that there are many areas that can be explored together. “Brazil is a very special country,” he said. “There is great innovation, here, in the fight against diseases, and Fiocruz plays a key role in helping the Brazilian government tackle health issues. I don't believe the vaccine is our last project. We will continue searching for areas”. The AstraZeneca International Region covers Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Africa, Russia/Eurasia and Latin America. The group visited the Vaccine Technological Complex, in Biomanguinhos, and the COVID-19 Diagnosis Support Unit.
Wang did not come alone. He invited entrepreneurs from ten Chinese companies to visit Fiocruz in the afternoon, at which time another Memorandum of Understanding was signed, now with the Ceibs Association of Healthcare Alumni (CAHA). This entity consists of former students from the China Europe International School (CEIBS) and aims to promote sustainable development in health. CEIBS, in turn, is a business school that emerged from the collaboration between the Chinese government and the European Union. Today, its former students are in key positions in companies.
Through the MoU, Fiocruz and CAHA express their interest in discussing and exchanging knowledge aimed at forming partnerships in pharmaceutical development and innovation in life sciences. The instrument was signed by Zuma and by the vice president of CAHA, Huimin Gong, before the Consul General of China in Rio de Janeiro, Tian Min; members of Fiocruz, mainly from Biomanguinhos and Farmanguinhos; and representatives of China's biotechnology, vaccines and diagnostics companies. Then, in a meeting led by Zuma and the Deputy Director of Technological Development, Sotiris Missailidis, each company explained its activities and interests, exchanging ideas with members of the Foundation.