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Molecular biologist and company founder Marko Panic returned to Serbia. With his business partner, he is launching his second biotech invention: a ventilator component. Serbia can now prepare in good time for the next wave of COVID-19.

Marko Panic
Molecular biology
Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade

Stable economic growth, an increase in foreign direct investment and an improved business climate are enticing many Serbs to return home. And molecular biologist Marko Panic is one of them. After obtaining his doctorate in Germany, Panic worked at the University of Stuttgart. Upon returning, he found that the research conditions at Belgrade University’s Faculty of Biology were excellent. His assignment there was subsidised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) Migration & Diaspora Programme.

‘Belgrade is great – both for my academic career and for my biotech startup. My approach to COVID-19 is inventive.’

Serbia also proved an attractive site for his biotech startup, since lower development costs allow individual components to be produced in smaller quantities. Together with his friend and present-day business partner Tomislav Radisic, who specialises in mechanical engineering, Panic founded the company Smart Research and developed an automated device for biochemical lab tests. When coronavirus started to spread around the globe, the company produced a prototype mechanical ventilator within just a few weeks that can be used as a component in urgently needed Serbian-made products.

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