Greece is able to attract investments in demanding cutting-edge technologies such as biotechnology, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday.
At a meeting with a work group on proposals to attract investments and turn Greece into a hub of biopharmaceutical innovation, Mitsotakis said that investments by Pfizer and Boehringer Inghelheim in Greece "show the Greek economy's development potential."
The work group consists of experts in the field of biotechnology, either as researchers or businesspeople, including outstanding Greeks living abroad, while the meeting was also attended by several ministers and government officials involved in the project.
Mitsotakis highlighted the role of high-quality human resources available in Greece, calling it "perhaps the most important advantage of the country." Such staff could be found in research centers, universities and hospitals, which would attract more clinical studies to Greece, he noted. Citing the group's findings, the premier added that such investments would not require significant capital, either from the government or the Greek taxpayers.
"We must claim a place in the clinical trials sector in the European Union," he noted. "We can't go from 0% to 10% in a few years, but I realize that when pharmaceutical companies think of clinical trials, there must be a list of countries that comes to their minds. Greece is not on the list."
The PM had assigned former alternate health minister Vassilis Kontozamanis with creating the working group, and the former minister worked on the group's composition with Biogen board president Stelios Papadopoulos. The work group's first meeting was held in December 2020 under the chairmanship of the premier, and it has held weekly meetings as of January 2021.
Also attending through videoconferencing were five members of the consulting committee contributing to the work group's committee. The consulting committee includes the following business leaders:
Noubar Afeyan (Flagship Pioneering), Michel Vounatsos (Biogen), Nicholas Galakatos (Blackstone Life Sciences), George Yiancopoulos (Regeneron Pharmaceuticals), Emil Kakkis (Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical), Kostas Maglaras (Columbia Business School), Albert Bourla (Pfizer), Peter Orszag (Lazard Frères & Co), Sir Menelaos Pangalos (R&D Biopharmaceuticals - AstraZeneca), and George Scangos (Vir Biotechnology).