Regeneron CEO to join NY Gov. Cuomo on historic Cuba trade trip
- Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer will be among the business and government leaders accompanying New York governor Andrew Cuomo on a historic trade trip to Cuba, Bloomberg reports.
- Regeneron is the largest New York-based biotech. Cuba's biopharmaceutical industry is state-sponsored and in many cases is intimately entwined with the government.
- This is yet another example of the changing dynamic between U.S. and Cuba since President Barack Obama announced the two countries' plans to normalize relations after a 50-year trade embargo and tense-to-non-existent ties. Cuomo's upcoming April 20 trip is the first Cuba trade trip being undertaken by a U.S. governor.
The times, they are a-changin'.
The Obama administration has been stepping up its efforts in the normalization process in recent weeks, including President Obama and Raul Castro's milestone face-to-face meeting during the Summit of the Americas and Obama's subsequent announcement that he would be removing Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism.
In Cuba, the biopharmaceutical industry is akin to a public-private partnership wherein the Cuban state often sponsors promising local companies. Now that trade relations are normalizing, there might be ample opportunity for U.S. biopharma firms to strike partnerships and licensing arrangements with Cuban companies.
So why is Schleifer the lucky biotech exec who gets to accompany Cuomo? "Len was asked by the governor to join the mission given he leads the state’s largest biotechnology company and has a long commitment to supporting New York state growth and development," wrote Regeneron spokesperson Hala Mirza in an e-mail to Bloomberg.