Lithuania is looking to become a new leader in biotech, reports Bernard Dichek at Nature's Trade Secrets blog, and the country is turning to Israel's biotech sector as a model. The country recently hosted a life sciences conference that drew about 800 attendees, including an Israeli delegation, he adds.
Dicheck notes, that like the Israeli industry a few years ago, Lithuania's "two main selling points seem to be 'good science + low costs.'" Science in Lithuania harkens back to when the Soviet Union established an enzymology institute there, and a few spinoff companies have been acquired by larger companies in recent years.
Additionally, Dichek writes that Lithuania also has a large number of expatriates, some of whom already work in biotech, who could return. "However in order for that trend to continue and for Lithuania to become a center of innovation, the country will have to succeed in attracting foreign investment," Dichek says. "The lack of a local venture capital community, stock exchange and other financial institutions that provide risk-oriented capital is a drawback to this."