Cureline bolsters Lithuanian biopharma industry with CDMO launch

US-based biotech Cureline has launched Memel Biotech, a commercial-scale CDMO to grow Lithuania’s biopharmaceutical industry.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

April 8, 2024

3 Min Read

First announced in 2023, Memel Biotech has launched operations from Klaipeda, Lithuania. With an investment of $3.5 million, the contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) will offer services for all three classes of advanced therapies – cell, gene, and tissue engineered.

“Our new biomanufacturing facility will allow patients to access therapeutics in the region of central-east Europe, which currently has limited access to cell and gene therapy medicinal products,” Agnė Vaitkevičienė, CEO of Memel Biotech told BioProcess Insider.

“We aim to develop advanced therapy products to bridge the gap between research and patient – supporting developers to move their technology from preclinical research to clinical applications.”

The firm seeks to serve the industry through technology transfer, development, manufacturing and regulatory challenges while moving advanced therapies to clinical trials. The CEO said Memel’s partners are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) focusing on CGTs, tissue engineering (such as 3D tissue printing) and others (such as exosomes).

Addressing Lithuania as “a gateway to the European biopharmaceutical market,” the CEO added, “to date, most access to advanced therapies is concentrated in western Europe. This limits patients’ accessibility even to participate in clinical trials. As regional developments in the life sciences sector put Lithuania on the map of Europe as a gateway to the European biopharmaceutical market, Memel Biotech takes a confident and collaborative approach to facilitate realizing the potential of the region.”

“Lithuania's highly skilled workforce, supportive environment, stability, and EU membership made it an ideal location for the new venture. Memel's Baltic seaport location also provides an entry point to Europe for US and other international companies.”

The 850 square-meter facility is expected to break ground in the first half of 2024. The CDMO will recruit up to 25 professionals over the next two years. Cureline Baltic has an administrative office and an animal laboratory in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

Life Sciences in Lithuania

Of late, there have been a string of investments in the area with expansions and facility buildouts in Lithuania. In November 2023, Northway Group announced an investment of $7.6 billion over the next decade to construct Europe’s largest biotechnology hub in Lithuania, Vilnius. The project, named as Bio City, is led by Northway Healthcare Group, which has subsidiaries including CDMOs Northway Biotech and Celltechna. It is aimed to boost Lithuania’s presence in the global biotech space by establishing four advanced biomanufacturing facilities and two research centers.

In 2022, addressing concerns regarding talent shortages across the industry, Karolina Karl, who at the time was head of Life Sciences team at non-profit invest agency Invest Lithuania, said the country could provide a solution to the talent shortage as it has “a pool of highly skilled and motivated talent ready to create added value for your business.”

With an ambition to accelerate the sector’s growth up to 5% to the national GDP by 2030, Work in Lithuania initiative was launched in 2017. It aimed to encourage professionals who lived overseas to build their careers in Lithuania.

This, in conjunction with other incentives such as compulsory internships at universities, state-funded apprenticeships, and 55,000 people a year being eligible for ad-hoc re-qualification through the Lithuanian Employment Agency expands the country’s skilled personnel.

According to Invest Lithuania, the sector currently generates 2.5 percent of the country’s GDP.

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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