CICESE Joint Venture

This is a joint venture agreement for research and development of new alternative and cutting edge Cancer treatments. Below is the background and mission of the CICESE Biomedical Development Unit.


UDB is the Biomedical Development Unit at CICESE, Baja, México. Our technological platform is based on marine organisms with high potential to develop novelty recombinant proteins for pharmaceutical and diagnostics uses in human o veterinary sciences. We have been working with toxins and shark antibodies for 13 years, which are useful tools for cancer, neuromuscular and psychiatric disorders research, without forgetting about therapeutic and diagnostics.

Created in 1973 by Mexico’s federal government, the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada, Baja California (CICESE) has become, over the past three decades, one of the most important research centers in the country, as well as the biggest one.

CICESE is one of the 27 research centers coordinated by Mexico’s National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and is a recognized scientific institution at a national and international level. Its main goal is to generate knowledge that may contribute to the solution of problems that affect Mexico’s social and economic environment. Its graduate programs rank among the best in the country, and some programs are leaders in Latin America.


To generate knowledge and develop technologies that may contribute to the solution of national and regional problems through basic and applied research and the development of human resources at the graduate level, in the areas of biology, physics, computer science, ocean and Earth sciences, within a framework of responsibility, ethic and leadership for the benefit of society.


To be recognized at a national and international level for the quality and impact of our research and our graduate programs; to be leaders in the study and solution of problems related to biological, physical, ocean and Earth processes, health issues, computer and communication technologies as well as in topics such as water, food, environment, alternative energies and the prevention of disasters caused by nature.

Strategic Goals

  • To generate knowledge through research projects in the areas of our specialization
  • To develop human resources at the graduate level through graduate programs of recognized quality
  • To strengthen associations with government and private organizations through research and development projects, technological and consulting services and training programs

Experimental and Applied Biology

The diversity and fragility of the peninsula of Baja California ecosystems provide the opportunity to investigate, study and explain biological aspects of scientific interest, which have an impact on the economy and the regional ecology.

Our scientists carry out research and teaching activities in three departments: Conservation Biology, Marine Biotechnology and Microbiology. Our activities are strengthened by establishing national and international alliances with other institutions to jointly study biological problems of mutual interest in marine and terrestrial environments.

The Experimental and Applied Biology Division has specialized laboratories and biological collections, which facilitate diverse studies including molecular biology and genetic engineering, electronic microscopy and experimentation with sea-water organisms.

Marine Biotechnology

Focuses its research on obtaining knowledge and exploring the information stored in the DNA of marine biological systems, with the purpose of creating new compounds for industrial and commercial application, pharmaceutical, therapeutic and diagnostic products, new sources of energy, and the remediation of environmental pollution. It also focuses on the study of marine organisms for their use as models, research, genetic improvement and food production.


Microbiological problems in contemporary areas of basic cellular and molecular biology are studied using fungi as experimental models, in order to understand fundamental problems of growth and differentiation in living organisms. The microbiologic research is of interest for the regional economy, in matters of agriculture, health, livestock, industry and the environment.

Conservation Biology

Research based on the biodiversity and sustainability of the ecosystems and natural resources applying a multidisciplinary perspective, including physiology, morphology, behavior, taxonomy, population and systems ecology, and resource management. The research subjects range from soils and plants, to insects, and terrestrial or marine vertebrates. The main aims are to carry-on research of the highest standard, as well as graduate, and give lower level training that may support diverse efforts at sustainable development.

Dr. Alexei Licea

Dr. Alexei Licea

Dr. Alexei Licea is one of the most prominent researchers in Marine Biotechnology in the country and, a firm believer in the potential that the marine species have to provide the next generation of medicines and pharmaceuticals that the country may produce sustainably. Under his leadership, a team of scientists from Cicese researches on how to use the marine Cone snail toxins as agents to lower the glucose in the blood of diabetics, Horn Shark antibody-based tests for the detection of tuberculosis and HIV, and other vaccines and drugs, and this is just the beginning.

My name is Alexei Fedórovish Licea Navarro, for three and a half years I have been the Director of the Division of Experimental and Applied Biology. As a researcher, I am part of the Department of Marine Biotechnology. I joined CICESE in the year 2000, so for twelve years I have been working at this Institution. My Master´s and my Doctorate were also focused on Biotechnology, applied to the Health Sector. The Department of Marine Biotechnology, as its name indicates, researches with Marine Organisms applied to the Biotechnology. Of the most important projects that we are developing right now, I would like to talk about the Drug for Tuberculosis and the one for Diabetes. One of every three persons in the world is infected with Tuberculosis, one of every three. Of course, being infected does not imply you are sick. If you have a good immune system you will not get sick, but still, you are infected.

Today, we have bacteria resistant to several antibiotics, and the XDR is resistant to all. What are we doing? We are searching for new drugs, but with different strategies to the ones normally used. We are attacking the Diabetes in two fronts; developing new drugs for patients with diabetes type 2 and also, attacking part of the symptoms. So, we develop a molecule that we already transferred to Laboratorios Silanes, which inhibits blindness in diabetic patients and in patients with glaucoma. OK, we are with Diabetes in two fronts. The first, directly over the pancreatic cells in order for them to produce more insuline and thus, lower the glucose levels; and the other attacking the problem of blindness in patients with Diabetes.

Lastly, another of the important projects we have is the isolation of proteins, also against cancer. We are working with colon cancer, prostate cancer, cervical, breast, lung and skin cancer as well. Regarding cancer, we are attacking it in threes fronts. Directly at the cell, the inhibitions of new blood vessels to inhibit new tumors and the strengthening of the immune system. If a person makes technological developments, if one does the research and leaves it in a drawer, from where I see, it makes no sense. On the other hand, if one gets to the top, being that what you have developed -like in my case, for those of us who develop drugs- you are able to find it at a pharmacy, then you are doing it right. Nevertheless, there are many people in CICESE that are doing many interesting things that are not in the Biological area, that have an incredible potential of application. The problem lies in the non-existent communication between Society and the Scientific Community. Yes, it is neccessary to make Science public.

Dr. Alexei Licea