Mexico’s biotechnology industry made an international splash this year when a biopharmaceutical treatment for scorpion stings developed in Mexico was approved for sale in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The product, called Anascorp, was developed by the Biotechnology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and is manufactured by Mexico City-based laboratory Instituto Bioclon. It is reportedly the first antidote of its type specifically for potentially lethal scorpion stings to be available on the U.S. market.
While Anascorp captured headlines, Mexico has quietly been building up its biotechnology industry in recent years. Sporadic projects to develop hardier agricultural varieties began in the late 1980s, and since have grown into a concerted effort by government and academia to promote biotechnological research and development in support of industry. Much attention has been given to the field as part of recent administrations’ drive to build Mexico’s international competitiveness in advanced industries such as aerospace, software and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The majority of resources currently dedicated to biotechnological research in Mexico are reported to be concentrated in the development of pharmaceuticals, with agriculture and energy applications also receiving significant attention. The Mexican Economy Ministry estimates the domestic market for products of biotechnological origin to be approximately US$1 billion with strong growth potential. Read the rest of this entry »