SAO PAULO, Brazil, October 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Oxitec, the UK Biotech company pioneering an innovative new approach to combating Dengue fever, joined a UK trade mission to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro last week led by UK Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Oxitec is a UK science export success story: it is collaborating with Brazilian companies to transfer new technologies developed in the UK to fight dengue fever. Dengue fever is a growing global problem and a major health concern in Brazil. The Oxitec solution to insect-borne diseases harnesses advanced genetics to create 'sterile' male insects. In Brazil Oxitec has partnered with Moscamed, a leading Brazilian company and the University of Sao Paulo to deliver the Oxitec solution in the country. In July 2012 at a ceremony attended by Brazilian Minister of Health, Alexandre Padilha, Moscamed formally opened a new facility which will enable production of Oxitec's mosquitoes locally. The company has demonstrated success in trials in both the Cayman Islands and Brazil and is developing a range of products in both public health and agriculture.
Oxitec was part of a strong delegation of British businesses travelling with the PM from the UK with representation from science, energy, defence and sports sectors. The mission, also joined by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts, Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green, Minister for Latin America, Hugo Swire, and CBI Director-General, John Cridland, culminated in a meeting between David Cameron and the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday.
Hadyn Parry, Oxitec CEO, said:
"The UK is a world leader in new science based technologies and we should be looking to export this expertise to high growth markets, such as Brazil, and turn it into commercial success. Brazil has a technologically sophisticated regulatory regime ready to take up the challenge of new scientific approaches. Together we can deliver a solution to Dengue fever that is both environmentally friendly and cost efficient."
Lord Green, Trade and Investment Minister, said:
"Brazil's fast growing economy offers many opportunities for UK companies. Trade between our two nations increased by a quarter in the last two years and London's successful summer of sport has helped to raise the profile of British companies even further.
"I congratulate Oxitec for securing new partnerships in Brazil. Getting more companies exporting is a crucial part of the Government's plan for growth."
Notes to editors
About Dengue Fever: Dengue Fever is a virus spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is neither medication nor a vaccine to prevent Dengue Fever. Effective measures to control the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti are urgently required as globally the disease is becoming geographically more wide-spread, more prevalent and more virulent. The incidence of dengue has increased 30 fold in the last 50 years. According to WHO there are between 50 to 100 million cases per year and 2.5Bn people are at risk. The severe form of dengue, known as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, was first recognized as recently as the 1950s but today has become has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children in Asian and Latin American countries.
About Oxitec (http://www.oxitec.com)
Oxitec is developing and commercialising an effective and environment-friendly proprietary technology for the control of significant insect pests. Oxitec's technology has the potential to make a major contribution for both global health and agriculture by combating insects responsible for serious diseases such as dengue fever as well as agricultural damage. The proprietary technology builds on inventions from the University of Oxford and employs genetics and molecular biology to enhance the existing radiation based Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), and to extend the control method to a broader range of insect pests.