Review of 2023: Life Sciences

Welcome to the first of a series of articles in the run up to the end of 2023. In our ‘Review of 2023’ we wanted to take a look back at the highlights, in collaborations with our colleagues in the Trade Team at the Department for Business & Trade in Japan and the UK bringing British businesses to Japan. Our first installment focuses on the Life Sciences sector.

The year saw great activity for business and R&D connections in Life Sciences. With the health concerns of an ageing population and the drive to digitisation, great opportunity exists for UK-Japan collaboration, innovation and development in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotech and digital health.  The tireless work of the Department for Business & Trade (DBT) team in Japan to capitalise on opportunities for UK and Japanese businesses in the sector had some particular highlights in the year.

UK seminar at Pharm IT & Digital Health Expo

In April the DBT Japan Life Sciences team organised UK seminar at the Pharma IT & Digital Health Expo.  8 UK companies presented their digital health offerings at the event which took place at Tokyo Big Sight, one of Japan’s biggest exhibition centres.

Cambridge Consultants, AstraZeneca Japan, Exscientia, SciBite Ltd, Global Pricing Innovations, Perspectum, Arete Medical Technologies and Siloton were all represented at the event.

The UK seminar held on the event day attracted over 100 attendees, and resulted in a number of companies successfully arranging 1-1 introductions.

3rd Reverse Pitch Webinar

In July the Life Sciences team hosted a reverse pitch webinar inviting speakers from 6 Japanese research based pharmaceutical companies.

Astellas Pharma Inc, Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, Shionogi & Co Ltd and Sumitomo Pharma Co Ltd. presented on their therapeutic focus areas and R&D and in-licensing wish lists.  This is the 3rd year since this event has been hosted.

Over 200 professionals registered for the webinar from UK universities and biotech companies. Post event engagement saw over 140 introductions and 25 introductory calls arranged to discuss potential collaboration opportunities in more details.    

The team received a wealth of positive feedback from UK companies welcoming the insight into research priorities and collaboration structures of the Japanese pharmaceutical companies. Similarly, the Japanese companies presenting relished the opportunity to meet UK biotech companies, which they usually have difficulties accessing.

UK Life Sciences Symposium on 10 October 2023

A major highlight of the year came in October, when a UK Life Sciences Symposium was held as a side event to UK participation to BioJapan to showcase UK expertise, strengths and the offer from UK biotechs and universities. The event helped to facilitate potential research collaborations between UK universities and Japanese pharma companies as well as collaboration between UK biotech and Japanese pharma companies especially around drug discovery and development.

The symposium was a great opportunity to raise the profile of the UK life sciences industry, both for trade and investment. It was jointly hosted by DBT Japan team, Link-J and MedCity/London & Partners, and attracted an audience of over 160 local Japanese businesses from the Life Science industry.

A total of 25 UK universities and companies visited Japan for BioJapan, including 7 companies from London & Partners’ Glow London Global Programme, as well as 6 Imperial College London’s spinouts:

London & Partners | MedCity; Cancer Research UK/Cancer Research Horizons; Imperial College London; Kings College London; Queen Mary University/Barts Life Sciences; Mental Health Research for Innovation Centre (M-RIC); Health Innovation Network East; Richmond Pharmacology; Optimal Industrial Technologies; Curenetics (Grow London Global LS Trade Mission Company); iLoF (Grow London Global LS Trade Mission Company); LIfT Biosciences (Grow London Global LS Trade Mission Company); Pangea Botanica (Grow London Global LS Trade Mission Company); Phaim Pharma (Grow London Global LS Trade Mission Company); Plasticell (Grow London Global LS Trade Mission Company); Sixfold Bioscience (Grow London Global LS Trade Mission Company); Charco Neurotech (Imperial College London start-up); Organa (Imperial College London start-up); ROAM Medical (Imperial College London start-up); Smart Surgical Solutions (Imperial College London start-up); Biomex (Imperial College London start-up); Matrix (Imperial College London start-up); Fitabeo Therapeutics; Axol Biosciences; TTP.