On Friday, 27 September, the Minister of Economics Ralfs Nemiro visited the future production facility of the world’s largest DNA gene sequencing organisation Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), which is the largest Chinese investment in high technologies. During the visit, the Minister met with representatives of BGI founder Wang Jian and representatives of BGI’s Latvian subsidiary, MGI Tech Latvia, to discuss future development plans of BGI in Latvia.
The primary purpose of the Wang Jian’s visit is to familiarise with progress of the gene sequencing equipment production facility and laboratory development project in Marupe, in the industrial park “Airport Park”, which is developed by BGI’s Latvian subsidiary MGI Tech Latvia. The company invested 15 million euro in the creation of the production facility and the innovation centre planning to employ 80 employees and export the produced sequencing equipment to EU countries, Africa and the Middle East. The opening of the production facility is scheduled for the end of this year.
Ralfs Nemiro, the Minister of Economics, emphasises: “The BGI project in Latvia is one of the most striking examples of investment attracted by the state, which shows the attractiveness and accessibility of the Latvian investment environment. The BGI project is also an excellent example of the potential of biomedicine, artificial intelligence and big data processing in Latvia, as well as proof of the possibilities for producing innovative products with high added value in Latvia. Millions worth investments that promote the production of innovative products with high added value, at the same time providing tens of well-paid jobs, is our goal in attracting investments that we are definitely achieving with this project!”
During the meeting, BGI’s development plans in Latvia and the world in the coming years were discussed. BGI informed that their vision is to give all the people of the world longer and healthier life by making gene-sequencing services easy to access. The founder of BGI sees Latvia’s potential to become the epicentre of European gene research, taking into account that the largest BGI gene sequencing plant in Europe will be opened.
“In the next phase of development of the BGI project, there are also plans to develop a Technology Park, which will allow Latvia to become one of the European leaders in the field of life sciences,” continues the minister.
At the end of 2017, a trilateral Memorandum of Cooperation between the world’s largest gene sequencing organisation from China – BGI, Wuhan National Bio-industry Base, and the Latvian Ministry of Economics on cooperation for the establishment of a life science and technology park in Latvia was signed at the sixth 16+1 summit of leaders of China, Central and Eastern Europe. The park will work as a platform for innovation and collaboration for life sciences companies and researchers, providing access to laboratories, mentoring services and support for commercialisation.
BGI’s Latvian subsidiary MGI Tech Latvia has already established active cooperation with Latvian universities and research institutes, such as the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre and the company has installed a sequencing equipment in the University of Latvia's new House of Science free of charge.
BGI carries out research activities related to gene engineering, finding use for them in healthcare, agriculture, environmental protection and other areas. BGI’s founder and president Wang Jian has received many awards for excellence in science and is mentioned in articles and studies of the world’s most influential and most cited scientists.