Russia has long been involved in the global race for leadership in high-tech medicine. The state had specific grounds to count on success. Overall, it is an excellent intellectual capital left over from Soviet times in the form of a network of quality medical universities, research institutes, and primary clinics that have preserved the potential of their teams. The traditions of production of medical equipment, medicines, and consumables, were also all accumulated during the Soviet period. 

However, one could hardly expect quick victories, especially considering how similar strategies for developing health care were built in other countries, claiming leading positions. According to the Health Care Index for Country, these include Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and France, which are doing very well in terms of medical equipment and accessibility of services for residents, regardless of how far they live from the capital.

Singapore deserves special mention as it built one of the best medical care systems on a global scale very quickly and on a minimal resource base. A judicious combination of tax levers and investment magnets has resulted in many of the best scientists and medical practitioners from Europe, Japan, the United States, and, incidentally, Russia moving to Singapore. However, the results of the strategy developed in Moscow are still more modest. Potential investors are offered benefits, including a zero-profit tax rate for medical institutions and the same zero level of value-added tax levied on medical services. For some medical products, the ta,x rate is higher than zero (10%) but significantly lower than the general level of 20%. 

Russia still has at least one trump card which it is yet to have played. This is the grassroots, horizontal activity of local businesses. Small and medium-sized enterprises have repeatedly helped out the country’s economy in the most challenging situations, and even after the 70-year communist experiment, the country saw the rapid growth of businesspeople who occupied various niches in the production of goods and services. Now, when the government fails to produce the expected results, the private sector takes up the cause and bring the necessary victories. 

Health Development Index among the world’s nations at the end of the first half of 2022, according to the analytical portal
Item No.StateHealth Care Index
2South Korea83,04
9Norway 77,08

Euroinvest Holding, which Andrey Berezin heads, is one key example from St. petersburg. Berezin is known as a relatively wealthy man, but he is by no means the leader of the national Forbes rating. In such lists, he ranks somewhere in the middle of the second hundred, and his Euroinvest is usually known as a developer who has built many residential apartment buildings in St. Petersburg and its suburbs. 

Although the construction activity was the central part of the package of Euroinvest for many years, it ceased to be the only one and has no alternative. Moreover, in a relatively short period, Berezin and his team of associates managed to grow a full-fledged cluster for the production of medical equipment and medicines. Not only them but also a wide range of high-tech products. 

Coronavirus Tamers

The 2019-2020 frontier proved to be an alarming one for the world. The alarm bells that first rang from China about a new coronavirus epidemic soon rang in cities across all continents, except perhaps Antarctica. It was not that the world’s medicine met the first waves of infections completely unarmed, but at the same time, not too prepared for them. There was a lack of proven treatment methods and protocols and no diagnostic tools that could be trusted adequately.

However, the latter appeared literally in a matter of months. Devices based on PCR, a polymerase chain reaction that can detect the presence of viral material even from a small fragment of DNA, have since spread worldwide and become an indispensable tool for the rapid and reliable diagnosis of disease. 

It will probably surprise many, but at least some of the PCR analyzers that doctors now use contain products developed under the auspices of Euroinvest and Berezin. The fact is that over the past few years, the company has been consistently acquiring factories in the electronics and high-tech sectors. Today, there are three such enterprises in the package, with one of them succeeding under the new owners in developing biochips, the very basic “bricks” that allow for PCR analysis. 

They are pretty different from their predecessors, including a considerable increase in computing power achieved through the active use of nanotechnology. This allows them to calculate much more complex objects, including entire chains of human DNA, in a relatively short period. Soon, new biochips from St. Petersburg developers are expected to become the basis for personal genetic diagnostics devices that identify potential risks and vulnerabilities.

It is worth noting that microfluidic chips created here are already used in genetic analyzers produced by the Institute of Analytical Instrumentation of the Russian Academy of Sciences. They are also used in the first Russian eight-channel sequencer, Nanofor-05. It is praised for its excellent results not only in genetic diagnostics, but also in the detection of oncological diseases as well as in forensics. The authors of the development are not going to stop there, though. Their immediate plan is to create even more advanced chips using the technology of solid-state nanopores and silicon nanochannels. Their application fields will be the widest and may lead to fundamental changes in medicine and beyond. 

Rays for Diagnosis, Rays for Treatment

Another area in which the teams of Euroinvest enterprises are strong concerns is the development and application of X-ray radiation sources. Moreover, local scientists and designers learned how to use them for diagnostic purposes and treatment. This is where they found an absolute gold mine.

The complex for treating oncological diseases developed based on the holding turned out to be a gold mine. To create it, we had to add to the experience of manufacturing X-ray emitters a lot of knowledge in modern robotics, building interaction interfaces between mechanical manipulators and computer brains. For this purpose, a prominent expert team was involved in the work, the members of which, in addition to the personnel of Euroinvest companies, were St. Petersburg doctors, scientists of the city’s technical university, and specialists of the Research Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics.

The results ended up being worthwhile: the developed apparatus gave doctors vast opportunities by combining surgical and radiation exposure simultaneously. The X-ray lamp essentially ensures surgeons against the possibility of tumor recurrence. At the same time, due to exact and dosed exposure, the side effects are incomparably lower than in conventional radiation therapy methods. 

This is not to say that no one in the world has thought of creating equipment with such functionality. It exists and is sold on the international market, but all analogs are inferior to the new St. Petersburg development in terms of some parameters. It is expected to be even more affordable; according to the available data, the machine will be sold for about $500,000. This figure is almost three times cheaper than competitors’ products, largely linking itself to the reason why the potential market for the device is measured in thousands per year, primarily in Asian countries. 

A Bench for Napoleonic Plan

In fact, the development package under the auspices of Euroinvest is by no means limited to medical devices. In recent years, investments in the production base made by Berezin have resulted in promising and innovative solutions based on various technologies. These are high-frequency plasma generators. 

One of the samples built by local masters was recently sent to the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia laboratory. Two more similar ones are currently in production, and Russian nuclear workers will receive them.

No less attractive, though more applied developments lie in applying high-frequency currents. They served as a basis for creating a prototype of the device for heating asphalt pavement. The principle of ultrashort pulse location is used in made sensors; they help, among other things, to remotely determine the thickness of ice cover on various objects. The latter is especially relevant for industrialists working in the Arctic latitudes, predominantly for oil workers. 

One could consider the success of the developers assembled by Berezin to be local, but this is only contradicted by the tendencies of the Euroinvest enterprises and the latest actions of the holding’s management, starting with Berezin himself. 

He is more and more active in the field of education and has the support of talented scientists. At first, there were joint initiatives with large charitable structures – the holding helped them hold educational platforms and contests for young researchers. Later the company launched its scholarship program and entered into cooperation agreements with almost all prominent universities in St. Petersburg.

A few months ago, it was announced that Euroinvest would begin constructing its educational institution for gifted children. The company is ready to pay for the construction of the complex of buildings and then finance its running costs, including teachers’ salaries. It is not hard to guess why the builder-innovator Berezin needs all this; he is preparing a long staff bench for his productions. If so, he has the most ambitious plans concerning the development of the science-intensive industrial cluster on the whole, specifically concerning the production of medical equipment.

Of course, investing in this kind of development at its early stages is quite risky. Still, the return can be tremendous; this was how the head of Euroinvest assessed the prospects of working in the high-tech market a few years ago. Since then, he has not lost hope. 

We have analyzed only one example of private businesses’ successful strategic inclusion in solving the Russian healthcare development problem. There are dozens or potentially even hundreds of such measures. Together they form a matrix of modernization processes that encompass the entire country. It is likely that with the combined efforts of enthusiastic innovators from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Perm, and Kazan, the government will be able to take the lead in the industry. At the very least, it will definitely be interesting. 

Press Portrait:

Andrey Berezin was born in 1967 in Leningrad.

He graduated from high school No. 239 with an advanced degree in mathematics. In 1990 he graduated with honors from Leningrad Ustinov Mechanical Institute (VOENMEKh) with a degree in automatic control systems engineering. During his studies, he was Lenin’s and Ustinov’s scholar and had scientific publications. In 1990, he entered graduate school at LMI and started a similar business.

 In 2017 Berezin was awarded a certificate of honor by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia for his great contribution to the development of Russian industry and many years of diligent work.

Hobbies and interests: Alpine skiing, tennis, and air sports.

Euroinvest Investment Company is a multi-profile holding company that has been carrying out investment activities in St. Petersburg, the Leningrad Region, and other regions of Russia for several decades. The range of Euroinvest investment interests includes high-tech industry and innovative developments to real estate development and comfortable housing construction. 

One of the key elements in the structure of the Euroinvest Group is its construction unit – Euroinvest Development – that builds homes and other objects, thus forming a full cycle development business.

Another infrastructural division of the holding is Murino Fuel Company, which specializes in implementing thermal energy projects. The agro-industrial sector is another promising area for Euroinvest investments. On its agricultural land in the Pskov region is actively developing an agricultural cluster Krasnoye Znamya, specializing in producing grain and feed for livestock and dairy farming.

In addition, the management of the Euroinvest investment company established the Euro Venture Fund with a volume of 10 million euros. Priority areas of investment are innovative developments in the scientific and technical sphere and projects in the creative industry. 

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