Life science in Lativa is attractive and growing
Life Science in Latvia is attractive and growing, says European Biotechnology News. Nearly all of the life science and biotechnology activities of Latvia, which is member of the Scanbalt network, are clustered around Latvia’s capital Riga. Recently, Jelgava has emerged as a second center, according to the Latvian Biotechnology Association. The centralized network of all the relevant players in Latvian biotechnology is due to begin its activities at the end of November.
On first sight everything seems rather small in the Baltic country of Latvia: It has 2,3 million citizens, about 8,000 students and only 5 universities. However, there is another face to the the Republic of Latvia: it produced about 25% of pharmaceutical and biotechnology products for the former USSR, according to GuntisRubins, Head of representative of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency office in Sweden, and thus has a strong scientific base.
The number of students has risen from about 5,000 in 2005 to more than 8,000 in 2006. On top of this, GDP growth rate has reached 10% last year. Because Latvia is a small EU member state with regard to the numbers employed in its innovation system (around 4,000), a major challenge for the country is to achieve critical mass in key areas and – because the domestic market often is too small – to expand export.
One of the six focus areas of research funded by the Latvian government is biotechnology. Despite being only 51 (2004: 28) Latvian life sciences SMEs, according to figures provided by the newly-formed Latvian Biotechnology Association, the country seems to be highly attractive for investors, especially with regard to CRO arrangements and technology commercialization partnerships.
Most of all, Swedish biotechs have recognized that the monthly wages are low. A laboratory head in biochemistry spends around EUR900-1,200 per month. According to SwedenBio, Latvia has already attracted several Swedish companies
29 August 2023
Life Science Baltics 2023 | 20-21 September 2023