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  • 2016 09 14

    Science Commercialization: Challenges for Innovations and New Technologies to Reach Consumers

    Life sciences are one of the most dynamic sectors in Lithuania with 25 % annual growth. It is among the fastest growing sectors in EU. Furthermore Lithuania has an ambitious goal to become European hub for biotechnologies by 2020. At present life sciences sector contributes about 1% to the GDP, the same level as in internationally recognized countries-leaders in life sciences, like Germany or Israel. Experts claim that with focused investment and accumulated efforts of all related governmental institutions the sector can reach ten times higher impact towards national economy, with new jobs created and especially with more efficient methods and means of medical treatment.

    The trends, issues and science commercialization opportunities are in-depth discussed at Life Sciences Baltic 2016 forum, which starts on September 14. The bi-annual event is organized by Enterprise Lithuania and Lithuanian Ministry of Economy for the third time and attracts more than 1200 science and industry trend-setters from over 40 countries.

    „Life Sciences Baltics 2016 forum has already become a nice occasion to meet and discuss global tendencies of life sciences industry in Lithuania. In Japan, Israel, USA national economies are driven by biotechnologies, clinical trial and other life sciences areas. We are as well committed to achieve a break-through of this industry and therefore we are creating an effective infrastructure for science and business collaboration. Only joint efforts will facilitate technology transfer into new products and services which meet societal needs, furthermore, penetration into export markets will value-add to the development of national economy“, states Mr. E. Gustas, Lithuanian Minister of Economy.

    Lithuania also has impressive examples of successful commercialization of scientific discoveries. Prof. A. Ragauskas has created non-invasive intracranial pressure monitor around 20 years ago. But science merged business only back in 2012 during the first Life Science Baltic forum, organized by Enterprise Lithuania. Prof. A. Ragauskas took part at startup entrepreneurship masterclasses and met with Mr. Remis Bistras, entrepreneur, now CEO of Vittamed. They established this company, which already attracted 10M USD investment, its products are on the radar of NASA and other organizations.

     „Lithuanian universities meet the highest international standards; numerous scientists are appreciated on the global scale. It is important that policy makers and the government recognize life sciences as a priority in the national level. We should work towards investment increase into R&D, as well as patenting. Lithuanian ecosystem of life sciences can experience faster development if young scientists are teamed up with experienced business professionals, if business angels structure is sustainable and impactful“, confirms Mr. R Bistras.

    The challenges of science commercialization are well known to Kaunas University of Technology (KTU). In order to have an effective structure for commercialization KTU established National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. 

    „Our objective – to facilitate that scientific ideas and discoveries step over laboratory environments, are transformed into innovative solutions and ultimately into products with actual application. National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is a platform for better collaboration between science and business. It is also a starting point for startups to launch their products to the market and go global“, comments Mr Edmundas Šalna, director of KTU National Innovation and Entrpreneurship Center. 

    In Lithuania commercialization infrastructure is mainly developed through dedicated centers at universities. In Canada science and business community have chosen centralized collaboration at Commercialization Center of Regenerative Medicine. The Center works on the national level and optimizes resources and capacities to achieve impactful results. Mr. Michael May, director of the center, highlights that commercialization of regenerative medicine influenced economic development of Canadian society.
    “Regenerative medicine, including cell/gene therapy, is one of the hottest segments in biotech. There is a tremendous amount of exciting science being developed in the field, but It is essential that these discoveries get commercialized with specialized teams, funding and resources,” says Michael May, President and CEO of CCRM, a leader in developing and commercializing early stage discoveries. “CCRM’s strategy is to work with industry to overcome bottlenecks and to partner with institutions who share our commitment to collaborate to achieve both health and economic benefits across the globe.”

    Technology transfer and commercialization is among the hottest topics trending in life science on the global arena. The forum hosts also healthy aging, gene engineering, cannabinoids, new medical devices, etc.
    Life Sciences Baltic 2016 is organized by Enterprise Lithuania. This bi-annual event in Vilnius is the largest in Nordic and Baltic countries and is recognized as a new destination where life science trend-setters meet, exchange, discuss, network.

    Lithuania’s life science industry has been rapidly increasing and attracting worldwide recognition. Lithuania declares an ambitious goal to become the center and European hub of life sciences by 2020. Statistics prove that Lithuania is already on the right track. Lithuania’s life science sector is the fastest growing in EU with annual growth of ~25 % and accounts for 1% of the GDP and is equivalent to the world leading countries in this sector and 10 times exceeds the average of EU. 80 % of all Lithuanian pharmaceutical and medical production is exported, mainly to Germany, Japan, UK, U.S., France, and Sweden. More than 90 international pharma and medical devices companies have conducted 1200 clinical trials in Lithuania since 2007.