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REGIONS EUROPE


Q&A: GEDIMINASPAULIUKEVIČIUS


Vilnius’shomefor life sciencesinnovation


THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF NORTHTOWNVILNIUS TALKS TO ALEX IRWIN-HUNT ABOUT PLANS TO CREATE A RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT HUB


and foreign companies alike. Vilnius City Innovation Industrial Park (VCIIP) — estab- lished in August 2018 to provide a home for high-tech companies undertaking research and development (R&D) and production—aims to do just that. “We want to bring businesses with high


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innovation potential and research centres together, and promote effective business and research co-operation in the development of competitive innovative products,” says Gediminas Pauliukevičius, chief executive of Northtown Vilnius, which operates the indus- trial park. “Our vision is for VCIIP to mobilise a strong


core of expertise and collaboration in the life sciences. As a park operator, we want the best possible conditions for the creation, growth and co-operation of life sciences industry play- ers,” he adds. While 12 companies are already located, or


in the process of setting up in the park, Northtown Vilnius projects that its industrial park will host about 30 companies in the future, as it aims to foster collaboration and cre- ate a value chain in life sciences.


Incubator plans As part of creating an enabling environment, Vilnius University Life Sciences Center will establish itself at VCIIP, helping to create a new incubator for young innovative companies. “The incubator will focus on the growth of


life science start-ups, modern molecular biol- ogy and bioinformatics laboratories,” explains Mr Pauliukevičius, adding that specialised researchinfrastructure and a conference centre will be installed to provide space for scientists to work, collaborate and exchange ideas. Given its focus, the structure and modern


research equipment in the incubator will be adapted to enable commercialisation in areas such as gene editing, protein engineering, epig- enomics, immunological and protein-inhibitor technologies. Mr Pauliukevičius is excited about the prospect for VCIIP in this regard. “Researchers and start-ups carrying out activi-


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ithuania’s goal to substantially grow its life sciences sector rests on the creation of an enabling environment for domestic


ties in these areas are developing partnerships on a global scale,” he adds.


Establishment ease A key part of Northtown Vilnius’s aim is to expedite the process of foreign investors set- tling next to the Lithuanian scientists and start- ups operating in the VCIIP facilities. “The developed infrastructure and commu-


nications of the park allowshortening the time of establishment, andweprovide investors with all kinds of consulting assistance to make the establishment process smooth and conveni- ent,” says Mr Pauliukevičius. Northtown Vilnius has more than 18 years


of experience in the field of promoting entre- preneurship, business incubation and accel- eration, and partnership between business and science. Mr Pauliukevičius explains that this experience, along with partnerships across Lithuania’s R&D landscape, will be key to prospective investors. “In co-operation with the institutions form-


ing the innovation system, also with Vilnius City Municipality and research centres, we are delving into the needs and expectations of investors by developing the infrastructure of a relatively young park,” he explains. Once established in the park, companies


can benefit from assistance in business, inno- vation and R&D development, alongside advice on finding new markets, partnerships and funding sources. As Lithuania aims to grow its life sciences


sector, spaces that enable R&D and foster col- laboration between innovative start-ups and mature investors will be key. Mr Pauliukevičius believes the established infrastructure and plans for VCIIP will help it become a key loca- tion for life sciences where health challenges are solved. “Innovation is all about collaboration and working with global partners,” he concludes.■


INNOVATION IS ALL ABOUTCOLLABORATION ANDWORKING WITH GLOBAL PARTNERS


www.fDiIntelligence.com April/May 2021 CURRICULUMVITAE


GEDIMINAS PAULIUKEVIČIUS


2018 NorthtownVilnius Chief executive officer


Previously European Commission, executive agency of European Research Council Head of investment management module group, Lithuanian Railways


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