Why Lithuania becomes a meeting place for science, business, education and research
Established in 2008, Santara Valley is now a rapidly expanding area of business intelligence, medical and research institutions where highly qualified employees and scientists create knowledge and products of the highest quality and are able to offer them to their partners all over the world.
Annual growth of Lithuania’s life sciences industry reached 25 percent
Lithuania’s life sciences industry is now regarded as one of the most advanced in Central and Eastern Europe. It has been skyrocketing over the last two decades demonstrating 25 % annual growth within the biotechnology, pharmaceutical research and production sector. Around 90 % of the production has been exported to more than 100 countries and the most important of them are Germany, Japan and United Kingdom, United States, Israel.
Export of pharmaceuticals and medical production was growing by 34.8 % during the 2010-2016 period. Lithuania has a lot of highly qualified life sciences experts: there are 900 experts of the field per one million of local residents. This gives excellent results: annually, nine new pharmaceutical products are created and produced per one million residents.
n order to maintain such a level, there is a search for new ways to create the best possible conditions for researchers to work, also the best ways how to apply their scientific achievements in practice.
Santara Valley brings together business and science potential
In order to bring together the potential of research and educational institutions operating in Vilnius and innovative business, the Association Santara Valley was established.
“Santara Valley now is one of the leading life sciences locations in Lithuania. It’s a technology cluster of business, research and educational institutions, a cooperation platform for entrepreneurs and researchers in the areas of biotechnology, molecular medicine and biopharmaceuticals, innovative medicine technologies, ecosystems and sustainable development, IT and clean-tech,” said Kristina Mateikienė, Managing Director of Santara Valley. “The mission of Santara Valley is to develop sustainable cooperation between business and research, allowing the implementation of joint B&R projects and commercialization of the results.”
Santara Valley is one of the most modern and effective valleys in Lithuania. Private business investment in Santara Valley for the period of 2012-2016 exceeded 100 million euros (excluding the European Union support). These investments have generated more than 2,000 highly qualified jobs.
Located in the northern part of Vilnius, Santara Valley is a home for R&D facilities of four major research institutes, medical centres and hospitals, business incubators, a number of pharmaceutical producers and private technology development centres.
Members of Santara Valley are major hospitals and successful companies
Members of Santara Valley include: VU Hospital Santaros Klinikos; Joint Innovative Medicine Centre; Joint Nature Centre; Biotechnology business incubators; Stem Cells Research Center; BIOTECHPHARMA private R&D center; MOOG Medical Devices development center and others, 35 organizations in total.
The biggest advantage of Santara Valley is that it has become a meeting place for science, business, education and research. One of the areas for successful cooperation between research and business is Centre for Innovative Medicine.
Centre for Innovative Medicine is a state funded research institution where important long-term visions of therapeutic and diagnostic strategies are being implemented and translated from fundamental science into clinically relevant knowledge and expertise. There are both an institute and an open access centre.
The institute has focused on four research topics: regeneration medicine, immunodiagnostics and immunotherapy, biopharmaceuticals and innovative healthcare services development. 15 million EUR capital investments were assigned to create modern research infrastructure. It will enable new fields of cooperation with industry: stem cells research, immunotechnology and biomarker research, biopharmaceutical research and drug development, biomedical information systems development, biomodels development and preclinical research, digital and molecular pathology.
Private companies are also successfully operating in Santara Valley. One of them is Stem Cell Research Centre (SRCR). It is a Lithuanian capital company concentrating its business to applied stem cell research, stem cell banking and regenerative medicine. Stem cell bank facility is using modern Swiss-made stem cell isolation equipment. The new and modern SCRC infrastructure has united stem cell researchers and physicians and is accelerating the development of innovative stem cell-based treatment methods and advanced therapy medicinal products. Stem Cell Research Centre is also a coordinator of stem cell and regenerative medicine cluster. This cluster brings together 11 enterprises specializing in clinical research and patient data management, bioengineering, cGMP production and stem cell research activities.
In Santara Valley, you can meet big and very well known companies too. One of them is Biotechpharma. It offers fully integrated services, starting from cell line construction and process development up to cGMP production of biopharmaceutical products. The company moved to Santara Valley in 2011 and invested 20 million euro to build a global biopharmaceutical services centre.
“One of the greatest successes of Santara Valley lies in the fact that it combines science, business and studies. This common space enables business and academic people to cooperate and find the best solutions. There are open access centres, business incubators,” said Kristina Mateikienė on the benefits of Santara Valley.
Most of the science and business representatives from Santara Valley will participate in Life Sciences Baltic 2018 forum next year. Save the date – September 26-27, 2018!
Ingrida Olendraitė, a doctoral student at Cambridge University, an alumnus of Vilnius University, had little expectations that her meeting with an old acquaintance during Life Sciences Baltics will evolve to an international project together with the greatest minds in the field of virus research.
Lithuania has more than enough potential to become one of the leaders in the biotechnology field. This is the conviction of Agnė Vaitkevičienė, the head and the co-founder of the first and so far the only producer of individualised advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) in the Baltic countries. According to her, medicines developed according to the needs of each patient are the future of medicine, to which Lithuania also contributes.