In this series of exciting interviews, we talk to the leading companies in the Biotech and Life Sciences sector in Pomerania. Here, we are in conversation with Tomasz Wrzesiński, Managing Director of Marketing and Sales at BLIRT. Biolab Innovative Research Technologies has been on the market for over 25 years and focuses on the production of specialty enzymes applied in nucleic acid purification and sequencing.
What does BLIRT do?
BLIRT, or Biolab Innovative Research Technologies, started 25 years ago as DNA Gdańsk in the broadly understood biotechnology sector. For three years, however, it has focused mainly on the development, production and sale of innovative enzymes in the field of molecular biology, with particular emphasis on diagnostic applications and biopharmaceutical production.
What products do you offer and what problems do they solve?
Enzymes are actually the equivalent of nanotechnology created millions of years ago by nature. They are very small protein particles – below 100 nm – dedicated to carrying out or catalyzing one specific biochemical reaction. For this reason, they are extremely effective and are widely used in science and industry – starting with medicine and ending with the production of food, plastics, fuels or even hydrogen and oxygen. In our case, these are highly specialized enzymes, enabling our clients to create products with significant added value, such as super-sensitive diagnostic tests or safe, highly purified medicinal substances.
It is worth mentioning that enzymes are also much safer than chemical compounds and are easily deactivated, even by raising the temperature.
Can you name your key sectors and markets?
Our enzymes are highly specialized and dedicated mainly to applications in molecular biology, however, they find applications also in broadly understood science – both in basic research and industrial R&D, as well as in the diagnosis of humans and animals. They can also be used in the process of manufacturing the most modern medicinal products.
The enzymes we produce are used by the most known scientific teams in the world and the best-known producers in the field of biotechnology. It must be added here that our main customers are industrial clients, both start-ups and global pharmaceutical corporations. Usually, these are research and development teams developing the most innovative technologies. Geographically, our clients are located on almost all continents, especially where innovation is the driver for the development of new technologies, i.e. in Europe, North America and partly in Asia.
What do you think about the business ecosystem in Pomerania?
Let’s start with a short anecdote. One of our clients visited once three BLIRT locations – two in Gdansk and one in Gdynia. This extremely well-educated representative of a large American company, who originated from India, kept repeating: “you have great karma here”. As a newcomer in Gdańsk, I can confirm that we have a great atmosphere in the region that combines coastal free spirit with very rich traditions that span from the Cistercian farming and cottage industry to the Hanseatic trade and Gdańsk’s Old Town magnificent architecture and smartly connects it with good business practices that enable innovation and growth. Due to a large number of outstanding research universities that are conducting research in the biomedical industry, Pomerania also has high competences necessary in modern biotechnology.
This is a good basis, also important for building the trust of our customers, who come and visit us and often admire what we have. Based on this, we should build better and better infrastructure – starting from efficient administration, support for entrepreneurship, through good banking services to good quality pavements.
What is the development potential of the biotech and Life Science sector in Pomerania?
We’ve been visiting our clients around the world and became part of their innovative projects. We can tell that biotechnology will change whole sectors of the economy and our everyday lives. We are convinced it will dynamically develop. Will it do so in Pomerania? Certainly yes, but the question is whether we will be its recipients and consumers, or whether we will take part in driving these changes. From our perspective, Pomorskie has a great opportunity here, both because of its traditions, location, research centers, and educated staff.
What else do you think could be done to create favourable conditions for the further development of the Life Science sector in Pomerania?
Three elements seem to be necessary – research, infrastructure and available funds. By research, I mean both education focused on innovation, cooperation with business and rapid commercialization of scientific results, as well as the academic community working side by side with business. The well-functioning Swedish model, familiar to us here in Pomerania, could be recommended. Secondly, supporting the development of high standard infrastructure focused on innovations, certified by ISO IVD or GMP. It means yes to science and technology parks, but with other facilities than offices, warehouses or kindergartens. And Thirdly, what is necessary for any victory, as Napoleon said, is money, money and money again.
What are your forecasts for the sector and what role can Pomerania play in the global Life Science market?
In our opinion, we are on the threshold of another industrial revolution, in which biology, especially molecular biology and computer science, will shake hands. As a result, we can expect completely new technologies, unimaginable at the moment, that will create new development opportunities and new challenges as well, for which we should be prepared. Increasing our competences in this area seems not only an amazing opportunity for the region but also simply a duty. Grassroots initiatives by local companies and the academic community, such as Smart Pomeranian Specializations, including the biomedical specialization, which BLIRT was a co-founder of, should play an increasingly important role in shaping the development of the Life Science industry in the region.
You can read an article on the Biotech and Life Science scene in Pomerania in the February issue of Anywhere.pl magazine. Read also other interviews with Pomerania-based biotech companies on our portal.