The year of 2020 was different for all of us. The global pandemic affected wide range of industries: biotechnology and natural sciences sectors were no exception. Despite the unusual circumstances this period has served biotechnology industry many opportunities and enabled effective contribution in the global response to the COVID pandemic. Lithuanian biotechnology sector is no exception, the professionals from industry and academia worked closely with leading research laboratories, hospitals and diagnostic companies. We are here to briefly summarize the achievements and highlight the advances of Lithuania biotechnology sector in the year of 2020 from a few perspectives.
The expansion of Thermo Fisher Scientific manufacturing facilities and reagent production for COVID-19 diagnostics
The company of life sciences services increased their manufacturing capabilities of products. The expansion was expected to enable the increased production and creation 140 of new open-positions for the talents of life sciences. Source: Invest Lithuania.
Digital mobilization of qualified professionals for the COVID-19 testing by the Lithuanian Biotechnology Association (LBTA)
The Association gathered a pool by of professionals by voluntary registration to join the testing groups of COVID-19 or to contribute to the production of diagnostic reagents in case of the human resource scarcity. Source: LBTA.
Development of the effective diagnostic tests at the company “Baltymas”
In cooperation with scientists from the Vilnius university, the researchers of UAB “Baltymas” were trying to develop a non-invasive virus specific antibody detection test from saliva samples. In this case, the virus diagnostic from blood would be no longer required. Source: MITA.
Northway Biotechpharma and Memo Therapeutics partnership
The cooperation of these companies aims at the manufacturing the SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody for the treatment of coronavirus. It is expected that the final product will reach the market in 2021 after the positive clinical research results. Source: Biotechpharma.
YZZY Biotech developed a diagnostic kit for the COVID-19 detection
A biotechnology startup based in Panevezys, Lithuania, developed molecular diagnostic kits for the detection of COVID-19. They are currently providing Lithuanian hospitals and diagnostic centers with their production and looking forward to the foreign markets. Source: LRT.
Prof Virginijus Šikšnys scholarship in the name of the scientist
Because of the important input of contributing to the discoveries and development in CRISPR-Cas9 technology of Prof Virginijus Šikšnys, a new scholarship was set up to encourage young life sciences professionals, students for their achievements. Vilnius University also granted Prof Šikšnys and his research team with a 100,000 EUR for their exceptional work. Source: Vilnius University.
Team of students from Vilnius university won the grand prize at the international synthetic biology competition iGEM
Vilnius University students were awarded with the grand prize for their project FlavoFlow, which main aim was to successfully identify the pathogenic bacteria that causes a severe fish infection. Nonetheless, the team won gold medals and were nominated in eight additional categories. Source: Vilnius University.
Project for the blue biotechnology accelerator
Klaipėda Science and Technology Park together with partners this year presented the blue biotechnology accelerator programme, which will unite innovators, companies, start-ups and will promote the development of the projects and services. The initiative will provide the opportunity of consulting with foreign experts, assistance in building the business plan and access to the necessary equipment and resources.
Launch of the novel Master study program at the Life Sciences Center of the Molecular Biotechnology
The study programme attracted many talented students who were willing to dive in a new study experience. This is unique international study program is based on the individual studying and the final project preparation. Source: Vilnius University.
New Government programme and its special focus to the experimental activities and science
In the programme adopted this year by the new government, scientific activities play a crucial role. The highly ambitious programme notes that in the upcoming years the most favourable conditions will be created for researchers to carry out their research, special attention will be paid for the international connections and attraction of new talent. We wish the new government success and will work together with the members of the association to help them to live together. Source: LRT.
Vilnius University Life Sciences Center new partnership with the Institute of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
On 8 September 2020, VU Life Sciences Center became an official partner with European Molecular Biology Laboratory. These institutions will focus on research and development of next-generation genome editing tools/technologies, enabling innovative applications and translational research. A new unit of molecular biology is going to established and it will employ six high-level international researchers in the genome editing field. Source: Vilnius University.
USA biotechnology giant “Biogen” entered the Lithuania market
Entity has already opened the office in Vilnius and are ready to develop medical innovations. “Biogen” main focus is the development of medications for the neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or spinal muscle atrophy. Source: Verslo žinios.
The global pandemic emphasized the importance of life sciences once again and its life-changing inventions. We believe that in 2021 Lithuanian biotechnology industry will become the forefront of new investments, research and development.