Baltic Countries

Gene Summit in the Year of the Helix

23.11.2003

In mid-September more than 450 top scientists from genetics and biotechnology as well as representatives of biotech companies attended the two-day international Gene Forum 2003 held in the Vanemuine Conference Hall in Tartu. All participants assured that the constant improvement of the knowledge about the genetic background of humans enables to fight diseases more effectively.

“We have to understand genetics to fight human diseases.” This appeal was the quintessence of the 4th International Congress “Gene Forum 2003” which was held from September 12-13 in the Estonian city of Tartu. “At least one fifth of the participants were from abroad”, said Prof. Andres Metspalu, head of the Scientific Programme Committee of the Forum.
This year's event was subtitled “50 Years of Double Helix” in commemoration of the elucidation of DNA's molecular structure by Francis Crick and James Watson 50 years ago. Additionally, Watson's “The Double Helix” translation into Estonian was published and presented at the forum. Sort of late, one may sarcastically add, since the original version was published back in 1968, but given that Estonia is driving it's well known Genome Project forward with high-speed (see also page 20) the baltic scientists assured, they have understood the genetic topics very well.
Organized by the Estonian Genome Foundation some 25 speakers discussed the new possibilities of genetics and biotechnology that have been developed during the past 50 years. As keynote speaker Prof. Rolf Zinkernagel, Institute of Experimental Immunology, University of Zurich, and 1996 Nobel Laureate in Medicine for discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell-mediated immune defence, introduced the mechanisms of immunological memory and the possibilities of working out new vaccines.
A special session on biobanks included the lectures of the representatives of the Estonian Genome Project Foundation, Iceland's Gene Bank as well as the UK Biobank Project. Dr John Newton, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Biobank Project, recognized the success of the Estonian project and emphasized that today there is a common understanding in the world about the need to establish biobanks.
In a session dedicated to pharmacogenetics Prof. Hannu Raunio, University of Kuopio, Finland, and Prof. Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm - amongst others - gave an overview on the expectations of pharmaceutical industry related to the development of genetics. According to estimates, only some 30% of patients respond adequately to drug treatment and about 10% may experience adverse side effects. Representing the German biotechnology company febit AG, Markus Beier, Director of Application Development, introduced the microarray plattform “geniom one”. Febit claims that the system helps to manage the large amounts of data hand-in-hand with the sequence analysis in genome projects.
As the winner of the second Biotechnology Award, established last year by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Estonian Genome Foundation, Quattromed Ltd., was awarded with Euro3.500. The spin-off company of the University of Tartu submitted a project that dealt with recombinant viruses and cell lines.

Baltic Countries

11.07.2007

Riga – In mid June, LSC Grindeks unveiled a new a4.5 million cGMP and GLP compliant laboratory for scale-up procedures and industrial analytics – the only lab of this kind in the Baltic States, says the company. “The development...

Baltic Countries

16.03.2007

Riga/Olaine – Two of the largest Latvian pharmaceutical companies began the year with significant transformations. Riga-based pharmaceutical manufacturer JSC Grindeks has reacted to the good sales in Russia and other ex-Soviet...

Baltic Countries

16.03.2007

Zagreb – The Croatian Health Minister, Neven Ljubicic, has set up a commission to advise hospitals about the merits of doctors attending conventions and professional symposia. Participation at scientific meetings is often...

Baltic Countries

21.11.2006

Riga – The recently established Latvian Biotechnology Association has as its main aim the promotion of the development of biotechnology in Latvia through the clustering of academia, governmental bodies and industry in joint...

Baltic Countries

21.11.2006

On first sight everything seems rather small in the Baltic country of Latvia: It has 1.4 million citizens, about 8,000 students and only 5 universities. However, there is another face to the the Republic of Latvia: it produced...

Baltic Countries

16.09.2006

Tartu – The Archimedes Foundation has launched the Scanbalt Project ‘Boosting Baltic FP7’. Like its predecessor, the project aims to increase awareness of FP7 programs and related knowledge for National Contact Points (NCPs) and...

Baltic Countries

21.07.2006

Vilnius – Lithuania’s only biotech drug manufacturer, Sicor Biotech, is applying for the largest amount of EU structural fund support within the ‘direct support to research’ group.The invitation for tenders under the measure...

Baltic Countries

17.03.2006

Tartu - Tartu University and one of the leading Estonian molecular diagnostic companies, Quattromed AS, submitted a provisional patent application in the US to protect a technology that significantly accelerates the production...

Baltic Countries

17.03.2006

Vilnius - The Lithuanian Innovation Centre (LIC), a Member of ScanBalt, has celebrated its 10th anniversary in February. The non-profit organization provides services to enterprises, research institutions, government and business...

Baltic Countries

17.03.2006

Tallinn - The objective of the ScanBalt Intellectual Property Knowledge Network (IPKN) workshop to be held on March 30-31, 2006, in Tallinn, is to facilitate regional cooperation and coordination of research and education in the...

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