Life science

Latvia’s life science sector is a true gem. It is a driving force for innovations, growth, and competition, promoting sustainability and high added-value products and services. Historically deeply rooted in Latvia, today this sector combines strong R&D capability, established manufacturing infrastructure, and geographical and cultural proximity to Eastern and Western markets. 

Add to this perfect mix a very competitive workforce and investments to increase productivity and foster R&D related activity. All this contributes to the potential and success of the industry. Industry data demonstrate that more than 83% of the products manufactured by the industry are exported abroad. 

 

Main subsectors
Manufacture of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastic products, and biotechnology, coating materials, cosmetics

Fast facts

  • Among the three Baltic States, Latvia leads the life science sector with the highest value-added. It reached 41.1 % in pharmaceutical manufacturing and 24.2% in chemical production in 2018.
  • This sector is nothing without innovation and the introduction of new products and services. Due to the historical roots, many years of know-how, legacy, and production, we provide an established manufacturing infrastructure. Also, we are proud of a long-standing tradition in chemistry.
  • We have the largest share of employment in pharmaceuticals in the Baltic States. 

Industry statistics

  • We believe in export, and export believes in us. Pharmaceuticals are leading the export, making up 37% of total industry exports. In 2019, the total turnover of the pharmaceutical sector reached 250 million euros!
  • Most parts of the goods are shipped abroad. We export 83% of the manufactured chemicals and pharmaceutical products. Pharmaceuticals compile 1.3% of total national exports.
  • Four is the number of innovation and creativity. The sector is currently ranked 4th by turnover and export amount among manufacturing industries in Latvia. 

 Employment and education

  • This sector is so rapidly growing in Latvia that we sometimes can't keep up! Well, as for now the number of employees in chemical and pharmaceutical companies exceeds 13 000. Moreover, Latvia is 1st in the EU in the percentage of female researchers (2018).
  • When you graduate with a degree in life sciences, you will probably pick your employer, not vice versa. We have around 1000 companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
  • Where to study? Your first choice would be Riga Stradiņš University, as it is a regional leader in medical education. However, the University of Latvia has also developed the Academic Center that allows both students and academic staff to conduct world-class research. Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies specializes in the sustainable use of natural resources.

Industry leaders

  • Olainfarm and Grindeks are producers of world-renowned and demanded products. 
  • Valmieras stikla šķiedra is currently one of the largest glass fiber manufacturers in Europe with more than 50 years of experience. 
  • Latvian Biomedicine Research and Study Center is developing a prototype vaccine against Lyme disease. 
  • Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis is an inventor and co-inventor of 18 original approved drugs and more than 70 original preparation methods of known medicines.
  • BGI Group is the world’s largest genome sequencing organization and has established a genome sequencing machine production facility in Latvia.
  • Madara Cosmetics is an internationally renowned organic skincare and cosmetics brand that uses biologically certified natural extracts and ingredients. Currently, it has around 80 different beauty products exported to more than 35 countries worldwide.

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