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Institute of Biotechnology (IBT), Centre of Excellence
The Institute was founded in 1975 by the USSR Ministry of Medical and Microbiological Industry as the All-Union Research Institute of Applied Enzymology. Initial activities of the Institute were aimed at the development of classical fermentation and purification technologies for the production of enzymes for scientific research, clinical analysis, industry, and agriculture. Over time these objectives have changed somewhat in response to both changing requirements in Lithuania and also the development of biotechnology throughout the world. Key milestones in the Institute’s history: 1975 - The Laboratory of Restriction & Modification Enzymes was established, which became the main supplier of restriction endonucleases for genetic engineering in the former USSR. 1983 – Marketing of restriction endonucleases was initiated in Japan and other countries. 1984 - The Division of Recombinant Pharmaceuticals was established, and the development of the first technologies for the production of human recombinant proteins was begun. 1989 - Reaferon (human recombinant interferon-a2b), the first recombinant therapeutic to successfully complete clinical trials, was registered in the former USSR. This was the first registration of any recombinant product in either Eastern or Central Europe. 1991 - The first sales affiliation was founded in Germany. 1992 - The Institute was given the status of a State Research Institute and its name was changed to the Institute of Biotechnology. 1993-1994: Four companies branched and separated from the Institute, the remainder continuing as a State Research Institute oriented to basic and applied research in natural sciences related to biotechnology. Initially the four new companies were state-owned enterprises. 1994-1995: The four spin-off companies were privatized.