Back 2021.06.01

EU Commissioner: Lithuanian firms can produce COVID-19 vaccines

Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė has met with European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, who is on a visit to Lithuania at the invitation of the Prime Minister.

After the meeting, Breton said that he had visited several Lithuanian companies, which left a great impression on him and revealed the potential for vaccine production.

‘It’s not for me to recommend to the companies their strategy. But [after] visiting the factory, interacting with the management, visiting production lines, I’m really impressed with the quality of the key components that are needed for mRNA [vaccines]. I believe that the team which is managing this facility, have the ability to go further and to manufacture the vaccine. My answer after visiting them this morning would be yes’, Breton said after visiting Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics and other companies that have ambitions to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wider possibilities of cooperation and other achievements of Lithuania in the field of life sciences were also discussed.

‘Lithuania’s life sciences sector is particularly robust and generates 2 percent of the country’s GDP, which is six times more than the EU average. Our companies can design and manufacture custom products, and some of them are already involved in the global vaccine production chain. Furthermore, competencies of Lithuanian companies can be highly attractive for research and development partnerships. In the field of vaccines, the expertise of Lithuania’s scientists can be beneficial as the EU is getting ready for possible future infections (expertise in non-viral vaccine technologies and leadership in genome editing technologies),’ said the Prime Minister.

According to the Head of Government, the life sciences sector is contributing to the fight against COVID-19. Lithuania’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are already supplying components to vaccine developers around the world. Some of them have significantly increased capacity, and plan to expand further.

Last year, Vilnius University Life Sciences Centre signed a partnership agreement with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, which provides for specialisation in genome editing technologies and related research.