Some success for Czech biotech

An educated workforce entices biotech firms, but funding is low and EU money hard to get

Jane Burgermeister(janeburgermeister@yahoo.co.uk)
Jul 25, 2004

The growing popularity of the Czech Republic within the biotechnology community has been underlined by the decision of the Swiss-based firm Lonza Biotec to expand its production facilities in the country.

Lonza Biotec, a custom manufacturing and process developer, has invested €117 million in the country since1992. The company opened a new production facility in Kourim in Central Bohemia in late June, and now employs 270 people in the region.

"We decided to expand because of the highly educated workforce and the low labor costs in this country," Simona Borovickova, spokeswoman for Lonza, told The Scientist. Nearly 20% of the firm's Czech workforce is university educated.

But Lonza is not the only foreign company to show an interest in the Czech Republic, which joined the European Union in May. The pharmaceutical group Baxter, for example, is building a new state-of-the-art vaccine production facility close to the Czech capital...

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