CasZyme: a primary example how international cooperation could change the world
In the past year, due to the recent pandemic, the biotechnology sector has made some profound advancements. What is fascinating is that the development of the sector will not only affect how we treat viruses but also how we treat other diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune and common infectious diseases. That is where new gene therapies could be useful.
According to Monika Paule, the CEO of CasZyme, a Lithuanian company developing and characterizing new tools in support of CRISPR-Cas genome editing technology research, when Germans and Lithuanians work together on developing such tools, both countries could achieve great things.
The Strengths of Lithuania and Germany complement each other
Although CasZyme is currently still awaiting a decision from potential partners in Germany, Mrs. Paule is sure that such partnerships would benefit both parties: “Lithuania has all the resources needed to become a recognized party in life science community around the world.” Indeed, Biotech companies in Lithuania already have one of the fastest growth rates in the EU. As a result, the statement that the country is only recognized in the life sciences community is probably an understatement.
For German companies, Mrs. Paule states that such partnerships are advantageous simply because Lithuania is one of the leading countries in the life sciences. The Baltic state has many strengths in fields such as molecular biology, biophysics, genetics, biomedicine, and others. “There are many reasons why Lithuania’s ratings in life sciences grow every year, she explains. We have a lot of talented professionals, strong research and development infrastructure, meanwhile our business environment demonstrates clearly that Lithuania is yet to unleash its full potential in life sciences.” All of these benefits have already helped Lithuania attract internationally renowned medicine and biotech companies, including Thermo Fisher, Hollister, and Teva.
Germany is also known for its highly qualified specialists. Besides the country also has a large R&D budgets together with strong support from government, especially for international cooperation. It is no secret that some Lithuanian biotech startups have great ideas, but sometimes there is simply a lack of possible opportunities at home. Here German companies could step in with their experience and investments.
CRISPR-Cas technology is what we should create together
Genome editing technology is new, unique, and innovative – that is why the whole world is fixated upon it. Mrs. Paule believes that genome editing technology will not only form the future of medicine but also the future of agriculture: “In medicine, scientists hope to use CRISPR to fix genetic disorders such as sickle cell disease and Huntington’s disease. In agriculture, CRISPR could help fix a lot of climate change issues such as drought and changes in pest populations.”
These genome editing tools have a wide range of applications for both small and large corporations on an international scale. This includes improving research in the fields of drug therapy, medical diagnostics, agriculture, and industrial biotechnology. Lithuania’s innovative biotech industry is on its way to become an internationally recognized player in this industry.
Lithuania rebounded to its former highest place in the world competitiveness index published by the Swiss Institute of International Management (IMD). In 2022, it ranks 29th among 63 countries.
Lithuanian life science innovation will again be on display at the 2022 BIO International convention in San Diego. Innovation Agency Lithuania will showcase 8 leading Lithuanian biotech stars on the Lithuanian pavilion demonstrating why Lithuania is one of Europe’s fastest-growing life science hubs. All are looking to build stronger links with the US which is already the country’s biggest market accounting for 28% of its life science exports in 2021.