Biological Pharmaceutical Laboratories

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Last Updated: February 1, 2004
Other Name: Laboratorios Biológicos Farmacéuticos; Labiofam; Pharmaceutical Laboratory
Location: Centro Habana
Subordinate To: Ministry of Agriculture
Size: N/A
Facility Status: Unknown

According to Martha Krebs, who visited the facility in October 2002 as part of a Center for Defense Information (CDI) delegation, Labiofam is "old..., small, dark, and not very user-friendly." She continued that some of the connected facilities were spread throughout Havana, thus not all work conducted by Labiofam is performed in one institution. However, another delegate commented that this is one of the better-maintained institutes in the Havana biotechnology complex.

Labiofam has been primarily concerned with veterinary vaccine production using recombinant DNA. In July 2000, Labiofam began the final stage of research on a vaccine against infectious equine anemia, prepared jointly with a Chinese biotech laboratory. If successful, Cuba and China would be the only two countries to produce this vaccine. The facility disclosed its success with an anti-Gumboro vaccine to Granma Internacional in late 2001, stating that it was the only vaccine of its type in the world.

Labiofam has developed to date (2001) "14 viral vaccines to protect sheep, goats, horses, and poultry, producing 'between two to three billion doses per year'."

One of Labiofam's best known products is Biorat, a biological pesticide (salmonella-based) used to kill rats and mice. However, many countries have banned the import of this product, citing health and safety concerns.

According to General Wilhelm, who visited the facility as part of CDI, the institute is surrounded by an 8-foot fence, with an unarmed civilian guard.

The institute has allegedly received several international awards for its work in veterinary medicine research over the past years from sources in Guatemala, Spain, and Peru. Labiofam claims to have offices in 13 countries, including Argentina, China, and Jordan.

[1] Glenn Baker (ed.), Cuban biotechnology: A first-hand report, Washington, DC: Center for Defense Information, 20 May 2003.
[2] "Cuban anti-Gumboro vaccine could be marketed in 2002," Granma Internacional (internet version), 14 November 2001,
[3] Radio Rebelde, as reported by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 17 July 2000.
[4] Simon Reid-Henry, "Cuban biotech plans to build on past successes," Genetic Engineering News, 22(3), 1 February 2002.

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