Life sciences is the top industry among Lithuanian innovators
Lithuania has been gradually becoming one of the high tech centres in the region – the country has defined a goal to become the most attractive European country for the development of the life sciences sector by 2030. On 26 September, during Life Sciences Baltics, the largest international life sciences forum in the Baltic countries, Lithuanian Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius presented perspectives for the development of the Lithuanian life sciences industry.
The annual growth of the Lithuanian life sciences sector is approx. 19 per cent, which is one of the most rapid growth paces across the European Union. 90 per cent of Lithuanian biotechnological and pharmaceutical products as well as medical devices are exported to more than one hundred states, including the USA, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Japan.
“Lithuania has a huge potential of life sciences, because we have a well-developed infrastructure – universities and research centres, a growing industry, many scientists; we have also attracted significant foreign investments, whereas the conditions for establishing business are favourable, thus the development of this sector is a natural strategic direction. Today the Lithuanian life sciences sector creates 1 per cent of gross domestic product, yet the future outlook is 5 per cent in ten years. The sector creates high added value and its productivity already now more than twice exceeds the overall national labour productivity,” says Minister of Economy Virginijus Sinkevičius.
Lithuania can make use of its unique competitive advantages of pharmaceutical and biotechnological business which are provided by research and study institutions conducting significant research, as well as highly qualified specialists, whereas the fields of biotechnology and medical devices haven’t yet used the startup potential.
Lithuania is also unique for its synergic possibilities to relate the engineering industry with a long-standing tradition and biomedicine. This is evident from laser companies which develop laser technologies that are applied in the field of medicine.
According to the estimates of analysts of Enterprise Lithuania, the Lithuanian life sciences sector employs almost 5 000 specialists. 43 per cent of all sector companies are the developers of medical devices, 28 per cent are biotechnology companies, 16 per cent are research and development companies, and 13 per cent are pharmacy companies.
“We are an educated and enterprising country and we have to seek that a bigger number of our companies develop niche products and provide specialised solutions, thus contributing to significant innovations in the fields of pharmaceutical manufacturing and biotechnology. Our country’s market size is obviously one of the key limiting factors; therefore, it is worthwhile for the life sciences companies that establish and operate in Lithuania to search for possibilities to become involved in separate stages of pharmaceutical product development, create and sell intermediate technologies and provide global companies with various biotechnologies,” says Daina Kleponė, Managing Director of Enterprise Lithuania that organises the largest life sciences forum in the Baltic countries for the fourth time.
The Life Sciences Baltics Forum, which takes place on 26–27 September in Vilnius, has attracted more than 1 800 participants from over 30 countries of the world. The Forum consists of an international scientific conference, an exhibition of the life sciences sector, business meetings and a training session for startups. Entrance to the exhibition, in which almost 70 companies and organisations from over 15 countries present their products and services, is free of charge.
In recent years African countries have been among the fastest growing economies in the world, while the huge potential of the continent in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) is predicting further growth. The European Union (EU) is determined to focus more attention on the digitalisation of Africa and digital economy development, with European ICT companies expected to play an important role.
According to Statistics Lithuania, total exports of goods increased by 7.3 per cent over 2018 to EUR 28.3 billion. Exports of goods of Lithuanian origin (excluding energy products) grew by 8.2 per cent to EUR 13.4 billion. Re-exports of goods (excluding energy products) grew by 5.1 per cent to EUR 10.7 billion.