PolandPoland

Making a Career at Home is Contenting

16.09.2003

With almost 40 million people Poland is an enormous potential market but considering the status of it's biotechnological industry it is a white spot. How much 'biotech' is there in Poland, the biggest of the EU candidate countries? EuroBioTechNews spoke with Prof. Tomasz Twardowski, president of the recently established Polish Federation of Biotechnology (PFB) about the brain drain problem, possible solutions and the benefits of making a career at home.

In which areas is the Polish biotechnology very active and which parts have not been sufficiently established yet?
The most efficient, and let's say the most 'powerful' activities take place in the molecular areas of biotechnology particulary in plant molecular biology and bioorganic chemistry. What is not functioning efficiently yet are the roles of the state authorities and the general logistics. This makes co-operation between academia and industry difficult. This regards in particular the transfer of innovative technologies and applications of scientific ideas into the practice. This is generally due to the problems correlated with the very restrictive national legislation and particularly to lack of knowledge of intellectual property rights.
Can you give us a short overview on the process how the PFB was founded? Who initiated it - the academic institutions or the biotech companies?
Unfortunately, and I'm saying this for a reason, the Polish Federation of Biotechnology was initiated and organised from academic institutions. We have received only minor input from the Polish industry. For basic reasons: the Polish biotechnology industry plays only a minor role in the Polish economy itself. We have quite a strong scientific society and a lot of people that are interested in and engaged with biotechnology at the academic level, but very few envisage themselves as industry biotechnologists. There used to be a strong classic biotechnology industry in Poland, but modern biotechnology is mostly in the hands of multinational companies. They actually don't conduct their research here, they are merely interested in the market.
What are the main milestones you would like to achieve for the Polish biotech companies in the next couple of years?
At first, we would like to establish a Polish industry which will be founded on national innovative technologies, that is Polish ideas. Secondly, we want to establish international cooperations and collaborations. Today there is a good co-operation between the Polish Acedemy of Sciences and the German Max Planck Society.
How do you plan to stop the so called 'brain drain' phenomenon - the problem that many Polish researches emigrate to western countries?
My idea might sound like a joke, but we will be looking and following what other western countries will do about it. This is because they have the same problem. We have a brain drain going from East to West. More and more people from Russia, the Ukraine and even from Vietnam and India apply for positions in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. And again, scientist from these three countries are seeking positions in Germany, France and the UK. Many researchers in Germany on the other hand chose to do their research in the US. So this is a common problem. Ideas like those of the German Max Planck Society, to grant so called 'come back' research fellowships might help. The first part of such a fellowship is to go abroad, the second part grants money to establish the laboratory at home.
In your career you too have been with Roche in the USA and at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. What were your reasons to continue your career in Poland?
A career in Poland is more satisfying and also more pleasant. In my home country, with my mothertounge, my family and my friends - I feel at home. And I'm pursuing my career at home.
We thank you for the interesting interview, Prof Twadowski!

PolandPoland

12.05.2010

Warsaw – Polish biotech firm Bioton SA wants to expand its business to Asia. At the end of April, the producer of recombinant insulin announced that it plans to issue convertible bonds worth EUR26m to fund an expansion of its...

PolandPoland

08.03.2010

Warsaw – Polish tissue-engineering specialist Euroimplant S.A. has received permission to build a new research and production facility in Klaudyn near Warsaw. The company said it is currently in talks with several investors who...

PolandPoland

01.02.2010

Warsaw – Polish pharmaceutical firm Polpharma has sought approval for its acquisition of parts of Polish blue-chip Bioton S.A. Polpharma made the bid on the last day of 2009. The case is pending. In November 2009, Bioton signed a...

PolandPoland

01.02.2010

Warsaw – Researchers at the Polish Academy of Sciences have shed new light on how plants adapt their flowering to climate. According to the team under Szymon Swiezewsk (Nature 462, 799-802), the plants use a kind of cold sensor...

PolandPoland

09.11.2009

Warsaw – Janusz Guy, chief executive of Polish insulin manufacturer Bioton SA, has stepped down shortly before the firm is due to present its Q3 results. He will be replaced by Slawomir Ziegert, who joined Bioton from competitor...

PolandPoland

20.09.2009

Warsaw – Polish insulin, antibiotics, and biosimilar producer Bioton SA has doubled its second-quarter net loss to PLN39m (–EUR9.3m) because sales fell by 8% in the period from April to June. The company, which is restructuring...

PolandPoland

19.09.2009

Kraków – The Polish biotechnology market has been shrinking in the last two years, according to a report just released by the Kraków-based consultancy PMR. Polish biotech industry sales fell by 2% in 2008 to PLN607m (EUR173m)...

PolandPoland

21.07.2009

Warsaw - Poland has violated its obligation towards the EU in regard to GMOs, the European Court of Justice has declared in Luxembourg. Poland, which is fighting to become a GMO free country, had been in dispute with the European...

PolandPoland

11.07.2009

Warsaw – Polish insulin maker Bioton has bounced back. After incurring a $6m loss in the first quarter of this year, (see Eurobio­techNews 5-6/2009), the company announced at the beginning of July that it was issuing €11.5m in...

PolandPoland

10.07.2009

Warsaw – Polish insulin maker Bioton SA has bounced back. After incurring a $6m loss in the first quarter of this year the company announced yesterday that it has signed an exclusive supply and distribution agreement with German...

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