Two big developments have happened in the Latvian MedTech scene recently and both are mergers between large institutions.
First merger are the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS) and the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre (BMC) who will completely unite by 30 June 2026, forming the largest life sciences centre in the Baltics. By pooling resources and expertise, the new organization will create a stronger research ecosystem in Latvia. Additionally, the consolidation will result in a more diverse and accessible research infrastructure, enabling scientists and researchers to conduct cutting-edge studies and experiments. The main goal is to become a national Centre of Excellence in the RIS3 area of biomedicine, medical technology, and pharmaceuticals. To achieve this, the new organization plans to collaborate closely with Latvia's universities. By working together, they aim to contribute to the development of the next generation of specialists in the field.
Second merger is between NUCLEO medical centre and medical company Ars, forming a first of its kind in Baltics clinic - Nuclear Medicine Center, which will ensure the production of radiopharmaceuticals necessary for diagnostics using the cyclotron by the end of this summer, while already performing examinations of oncological patients using positron emission tomography and computed tomography. The Centre will also ensure a practical and modern process for training young experts in the fields of medicine and diagnostics, pharmacy and chemistry as well as in medical engineering and physics.
The same kind of science-intensive development is also going on in the startup ecosystem. Cellbox Labs is a steadily developing organs-on-a-chip technology that is suitable for drug testing and compatible with mass manufacturing methods. In the first half of 2023, they have expanded their team by 3 people – which was not easy considering the startup needs employees with highly specific skill sets, which are almost impossible to find just in Latvia. This growth is in anticipation of a 1.5M investment round, which already has first commitments.
The knowledge and expertise of Cellbox Labs – enhanced by their partners in Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre and Institute of Electronics and Computer Science – have been recognized internationally as the founders have been invited to speak at the MPS World Summit 2023 – the most prestigious conference in the MedTech field of microphysiological systems.
Spring is the DeepTech season in Latvia – mostly due to the fact that two of the biggest Latvian startup events take place at the time – the aptly named DeepTech Atelier, and TechChill, which has a wider focus but always ends up being dominated by DeepTech topics, especially SpaceTech. Both of the events also increasingly focus on panels and presentations on how to become a DeepTech entrepreneur and how to get funding from DeepTech-focused EU projects.
If you only visit TechChill, you might not know how good you have it. TechChill 2022 recently took home the GOLD at the prestigious Eventex Awards (global event award festival), triumphing over 700 applicants! And if you can’t have enough just with TechChill Riga, remember that TechChill Milano 2023 is already building up the buzz for September 25-27.
Sonarworks, being one of the Latvian startup ecosystem's successful DeepTech veterans, can’t stop receiving international prizes and accolades. This time together with the Latvian street artist Kiwie, the company has created its own NFT campaign showing recording studios with various music genres being produced. The campaign won the advertising and campaigns category of the iF Design Award 2023, which is among the world's TOP3 design award ceremonies.
A lot of GreenTech sector focus currently is around transportation as it contributes to a huge percentage of fossil fuel usage. Finding alternatives and optimizations are paramount to solving the climate change crisis.
Latvian locomotive retrofit expert DiGas has partnered up with HDF Energy (which has acquired a minority stake in DiGas capital), the high-power fuel cell manufacturer from France. The goal – accelerating the design and development of retrofitting diesel locomotives with hydrogen power. These CO2-emission-free hydrogen locomotives offer a true alternative to diesel-powered ones; and the retrofitting process means economic sustainability benefits to customers.
Meanwhile, on the water – Electrify H2 is working on a hydrogen-powered motorboat. They are a Latvian startup whose mother company, Electrify, converts commercial cargo vans into electric passenger minibuses. The new idea is to develop fully hydrogen-powered motorboats, offering more sustainable transport solutions for the Latvian market and further afield. To raise additional capital, the owners of the company have decided to allow individual investors to become 20% shareholders.
Outside of the transportation industry, Algae Tree has been testing the existing prototypes with early adopters and participated in the City to Sea acceleration program that will allow to improve the device’s aeration system. In the meantime, the startup has been exploring opportunities for biofuel extraction and microalgae use in space. Algae Tree currently raising €200K in a pre-seed round to continue product improvement, lab research, and market analysis.
This publication is prepared by Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV and supported by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.