The Czech Republic has a rich history of discoveries in the area of medical sciences – from the laws of heredity formulated by Gregor Johann Mendel, through the first table-top electron microscope developed by Armin Delong and Otto Wichterle’s invention of soft contact lenses, to pioneering antiviral drugs for treating AIDS, whose main compounds were developed by Professor Antonín Holý at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Currently, the main areas of medical sciences are molecular genetics, development of cell and tissue therapies, diagnostics, medical chemistry and biochemistry, and bioinformatics.  

Due to the requirements placed on healthcare systems and the ever-rising expectations of the public in the area of medical services, the government of the Czech Republic has set as one of its priority areas the development of new medications and diagnostic and medical devices, as well as development of human resources in the field of healthcare. In the past decade, the government has invested nearly EUR 3 billion of public funding in strengthening the country’s research infrastructure. In Prague, Brno and Olomouc, new research centres have been completed and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, thus supplementing the research capacities of the Czech Academy of Sciences and universities.  

Czech research teams are recognised internationally thanks to their high-quality research in the areas of molecular genetics, immunology, analytical and medical chemistry and biochemistry, cardiology, neurology, metabolic disorders, diagnostics and, more recently, medical applications of nanotechnologies.  

The development of this sector is currently supported also by effective patent protection, adoption of European GMP, GLP and GCP standards and government support for the transfer of knowledge between the science and business spheres. Furthermore, the Czech Republic’s membership in the European Union guarantees a regulatory framework that is compatible with that of all other EU countries, which together comprise a consumer market of more than 450 million customers within only a two-hour flight from Prague.  

Thanks to the government’s fiscal measures in combination with the results of science and research activities, the country’s traditionally high level of education and healthcare, tax relief for R&D and investment incentives for activities with high value added, the Czech Republic has become an attractive location for cooperation in the field of healthcare-related research, development and production.  

Examples of global companies operating in the pharmaceutical sector in the Czech Republic include, among others, Teva Pharmaceutical, Lonza, MSD, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, Novartis, Otsuka and Zentiva. Significant representatives in the area of medical and diagnostic devices are Olympus, TermoFisher Scientific, Kavo Kerr, Smiths Medical, Teleflex and Beckman Coulter. 

Jan Zapletal
Director of Innovation Department