Lithuania‘s biotech ecosystem on a growth spree and solutions fighting against the pandemic
Last month, the Lithuanian Health Technology Ecosystem welcomed two new industry members – ’Ligence’, ’Imunodiagnostika’ – and one academic member– ’Biobank at Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Klinikos’ – to its community. These three organisations aim to contribute significantly to the global pandemic response by developing novel products and technologies.
The revenues of Lithuania’s biotech sector are growing steadily every year. In 2019, they surpassed a billion euros for the first time. In 2020, they reached nearly 2 billion euros last year, experiencing a growth of 87%. This positive trend confirms that the biotechnology and life sciences sector is one of the fastest growing and most productive sectors of the economy in Lithuania. The year-on-year growth in the number of students choosing this area and people working in the private sector shows huge attractiveness and potential. ’Last year, a number of Lithuanian biotech companies made a significant contribution to the management of the pandemic situation, and some started the development of new products, production of testing kits and vaccine components, says LBTA President Tomas Andrejauskas.
The Lithuanian Health Technology Ecosystem welcomed two new industry members – ’Ligence’, ’Imunodiagnostika’ – and one academic member– ’Biobank at Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Klinikos’ – to its community. These three organisations aim to contribute significantly to the global pandemic response by developing novel products and technologies.
’Ligence’ was founded by a team of medical practitioners aiming to deliver artificial intelligence solutions for everyday cardiologist work. ’Ligence’ is developing machine learning algorithms that are capable of automatically detecting functional and anatomical features of a person’s heart from ultrasound images.
Last year, when the pandemic started, ’Ligence’ also started adapting the technology they had in development to provide solutions for fighting coronavirus pandemic consequences. Ligence has received a funding grant as part of ”Inostartas” programme that assists development of an innovative tool prototype. This was further funded by Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LVPA) for development of CardioEchoAI – the tool for 2D transthoracic echocardiography automation.
’Imunodiagnostika’ company focuses on innovative in vitro diagnostics solutions in the field of immunology. In 2020, whilst participating in the competition ’Life-saving innovations: stop COVID-19’, ’Imunodiagnostika’ in partnership with company ’Baltymas’ managed to assemble a large team of experts, received the necessary funding and launched the first Lithuanian SARS-CoV-2 antibody test kit. The test kit immediately attracted a great deal of interest.
Since early this year, scientists from the ’Biobank at Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Klinikos’ and Molecular Medicine Laboratory got actively involved in gathering and analyzing information on the SARS-CoV-2 virus strains circulating in Lithuania. Scientists perform sequencing of the virus genome and determine whether the virus that infected a person has additional mutations compared to the virus first detected in China, Wuhan in 2019.
The Centre of Laboratory Medicine at ’Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Klinikos’ also runs a project ’Research-based recommendations to improve the laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 infection and to predict the course of the disease’ funded by the European Union structural funds. The project aims to investigate the infectivity of patients with COVID-19 and other respiratory tract infections and establish a link between co-infection and clinical signs as well as disease progression. Scientists are determined to develop a set of SARS-COV-2 nucleic acid detection reagents to detect the virus directly from the samples without additional sample treatment.
One of the factors that has determined the fast-paced development of Lithuanian biotechnology ecosystem is the close cooperation and connectivity of our members. We are looking forward to the sustainable ecosystem’s growth and innovative solutions developed by our members.
Lithuanian Biotechnology Association: Kristina Glusciukaite, [email protected], +370 654 11 794
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