Lithuania focuses on innovative sectors, technology and science. The country is also at the forefront of the life sciences sector, that is growing in international attention.

The bio-technology sector has skyrocketted by 87% in terms of revenue and the life science sector by an average of 22.1% per year between 2011 and 2016.  Proof of Lithuanian excellence is the fact that several Lithuanian companies such as Thermo Fischer Scientific and other life science start-ups such as Biomatter Designs are among the leaders in the sector.

Credit Photo: Hans Reniers

The reasons for this success are based on 400 millions euros in modern research infrastructure and by the measures Lithuania has put in place to attract start-ups. In addition, the city’s Industrial Innovation Park is an internationally renowned centre for research and development in the life sciences. Sixteen companies are already set up there and another twenty or so are expected, the majority of which are specialised in the life sciences. Lithuania can also count on a large scientific community of 1,500 students and scientists to carry out high-tech projects in the sector. A dedicated incubator for life science companies will also be completed by 2022, providing access to modern molecular biotechnology and bioinformatics laboratories. The excellence of the teaching in Lithuania is also one of the reasons for this success. Today, Lithuania has 400 companies in the life sciences sector. Moreover, the Life Science Centre of Vilnius University (LSCVU) is very active. Gintaras Valinčius, the director of the LSCVU, notes that for the past 5 years Lithuania has been steadily gaining ground in the genomic fields. Further proof of the Lithuanian success: in September 2020, the Vilnius Life Science Centre signed a partnership with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, one of the world’s leading research center.

Industrial Innovation Park in Vilnius.

In 2020, despite the situation, exports related to life sciences have exploded. Between 2015 and 2020, exports of innovations in this sector have increased by a factor of 2.7 (from €229 million to €627 million) on average. This success is also visible abroad, as life science companies work mainly with foreign companies and export 95% of their production. Lithuania has adapted to the situation by entering global supply chains and establishing itself in new markets. To illustrate, the Lithuanian company Teltonika is one of the world leaders in Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, exporting to about 150 countries. Its new prototype is an artificial lung ventilator. Our member SigFox, the first global 0g network, is already established in Lithuania and has been working on the implementation of the IoT network!

With its innovation and R&D driven economy, Lithuania is proving to the world that it has the potential to become a key player in the future ”Europe of Health”. Its main assets: highly qualified professionals such as Professor Vladas Algirdas Bumelis, who has brought 32 patents to the country, companies ready to move forward, and a very strong capacity to adapt. For example, Lithuania has taken advantage of the health situation to propose trials for drugs against COVID 19.  The Lithuanian company Imunodiagnostika is developing DNA chips for various microbiological diagnostics.

Credit Photo: Guillaume Périgois.

With around 600 companies investing in the life sciences, as well as a dozen bio-science start-ups setting up every year, Lithuania is set to become a key partner for the EU, and has the ambition to become one of the leading countries in the Union by 2030. Germany seems very interested in cooperating with Lithuania. Lithuanian and German researchers are already involved in 50 joint projects funded by the European Union.

The last proof of the Lithuanian success, which suggests a bright future for the country: from 21 to 24 September 2021, one of the largest science forums in Lithuania was held, the Life Science Baltic, with Dr Richard Henderson as guest of honour!

Credit Photo: Darya Tryfanava