Lithuania is the country that has made the most rapid advancements in biotechnology over the past seven years. This is shown by the Scientific American Worldview international biotechnology ranking that was presented during the BIO International Convention in Boston.
In terms of progress in the field of biotechnology, Lithuania was ranked 16th among 54 countries in 2018. This is 19 places higher than in 2011, when Lithuania was included in the American study for the first time. The United States, Singapore, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden maintained their positions as leaders at the top of the ranking.
Lithuania is ranked the highest among Central and Eastern European countries. Estonia holds 22nd place, Poland – 38th place, and Latvia – 41st place. “Lithuania has made many significant efforts to develop the biotechnology sector during recent decades – building a strong basic-research base first with the results to follow. Our industrial and academic collaborations have grown considerably, and biotechnology is an area where collaboration is the strongest,” Lithuanian Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius is quoted as saying in the report.
According to him, Lithuania intends to promote the development of new life sciences start-ups and spin-offs. “We believe that start-ups, especially driven from universities and research centers, can generate more innovation in the biotechnology sector,” says Mr Sinkevičius.
Lithuania has made many significant efforts to develop the biotechnology sector during recent decades
In the ranking, 54 countries were evaluated according to seven categories: productivity, intellectual property protection, intensity, enterprise support, education/workforce, foundations (infrastructure and investment in research and development), and policy and stability.
Lithuania’s efforts to deploy biotech innovation were given the highest score on a scale from 0 to 10. In terms of the number of researchers in medical and health sciences per capita, Lithuania ranked 6th among all of the countries evaluated, and shared 13th–14th place with Taiwan/China for a business friendly environment. Lithuania secured 20th place in political stability, and shared 24th–25th place with the Czech Republic for post-secondary science graduates per capita.
Average Annual Growth of 19 Per Cent
According to Enterprise Lithuania calculations, the Lithuanian life sciences sector is growing by an average of 19 per cent annually, and the sector’s sales exceeded EUR 500 million for the first time in 2016.
“Life Sciences Baltics – an international forum which is held every two years and brings approximately 1,500 life sciences experts, researchers and businesspeople to Vilnius from over 30 countries and features 60 world-class speakers, including Nobel Prize laureates – has also contributed to Lithuania’s name as one of the most advanced life sciences hubs in Central and Eastern Europe,” says Enterprise Lithuania Managing Director Daina Kleponė.
Life Sciences Baltics has also contributed to Lithuania’s name as one of the most advanced life sciences hubs in Central and Eastern Europe
Lithuanian life sciences companies earn more than 90 per cent of their total income in foreign markets, primarily by exporting to the United States (14 per cent of the sector’s total exports in 2016), the United Kingdom (11 per cent), the Netherlands (11 per cent), and Germany (8 per cent).
The bulk of foreign exports in 2016 consisted of pharmaceutical products (46 per cent), medical devices (35.2 per cent) and enzymes, nucleic acids, and sales of heterocyclic compound producers (10.9 per cent).