Japan Life Sciences Innovation Night

In-person session

June 7, 2018 | 3:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Closing out the annual BIO International Convention, Japanese and Japan-focused Harvard & MIT researchers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and major pharmaceutical reps will gather at Venture Café to explore avenues of collaboration in Boston’s Life Sciences community.

Japan and Boston share a strategic relationship — this evening of networking, panel discussions pitches, and flash talks seeks to align the next generation of entrepreneurial spirit with the talent and resources needed to thrive in tomorrow’s market.

Who should attend?

  • Boston Biotech Investors seeking to meet innovative, leading biotech startups
  • Startups looking for startegic aliance opportunities with Japanese and US large pharma companies, and getting connected with agencies who support foreign market entry
  • Other ecosystem builders (researchers, incubators, etc.)
  • Students interested in working or learning about the biotech industry

Join us at Venture Café Cambridge on June 7th – Free Sushi!

To indicate your interest for headcount purposes, please visit our Eventbrite.


Panel Discussion – What Can Japan Learn from the Boston Bio Ecosystem?

Demo Booths and Info Tables

Flash Talks – Lessons Learned from Cross-Cultural Business and Research

Innovate Pharma: Reverse Pitches & Round-table with Pharma Industry Leaders

Pitches by Biotech Startups from the US and Japan

Panel Discussion – What Can Japan Learn from the Boston Bio Ecosystem?

5:00-6:00pm [Havana]

Boston’s biotech ecosystem has become a hub of innovation, attracting both global Big Pharma and thriving startups. Japan has struggled to foster a similar environment, despite having talented researchers and excellent research institutions. But a biotech ecosystem is emerging in Japan, with its own unique characteristics, opportunities, and challenges. We have assembled a diverse panel of experts who will share their perspectives on innovation, their experiences in fostering new biotech businesses, and lessons from collaborating across cultures.

Opening remarks by Consul General of Japan Rokuichiro Michii


S. Roy Kimura, Ph.D., is cofounder and CEO of Modulus Discovery, Inc. Roy has over 15 years of computational drug discovery experience at large pharma, computational technology and biotechnology firms. He was most recently principal scientist at Schrodinger, Inc. where he led collaborative research programs with pharmaceutical firms and academic research labs. Prior to this Roy performed computational drug discovery research at Bristol-Myers Squibb for 10 years. Roy obtained his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Boston University, and completed his post-doctoral studies in the chemistry department at MIT.

Fumitaka Mori, Remiges Ventures

Yasumasa Yamamoto, Harvard University

Jean-Jacques Yarmoff is currently working with BioLabs in Cambridge, helping bring this powerful support to fast growing biotechnology companies to Europe and Asia. In his latest positions with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and before that with Bpifrance in Paris, he has worked with hundreds of technology companies to help their development, in France and internationally. Jean-Jacques has worked over 15 years in the pharma and biotech industry in France (Transgene, Hybrigenics), in America (Sterling Winthrop, Amgen) and in Japan. He holds a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Tokyo.

Moderated by:

Karl Ruping, Managing Partner of IncTANK Ventures, is an experienced early-stage investor and active entrepreneur who has founded or funded several startups that have emerged from the CIC community. Some of his portfolio have Japanese investors or strategic partners, including Agrivida, Misfit, and most recently Tiba Biotech.


Demo Booths and Info Tables

5:30-7:30pm [Cafe]

BTB Japan Inc. is an international business development company focused on developing enduring business relationships between the USA and Japan. Primary markets served include Biotech and pharma, medical devices, healthcare and wellness. Main office in Tokyo; representation office in Palm Beach, Florida.

Parexel is the world’s leading innovator of biopharmaceutical services. We simplify our clients’ journey of transforming scientific discoveries into new medical treatments for patients with high-quality Phase I-IV clinical research, regulatory, consulting, and market access services. PAREXEL develops breakthrough innovations and solutions by leveraging its comprehensive therapeutic, technical, and functional expertise, in more than 100 countries.

Hamamatsu Pharma Research specializes in pharmacological efficacy studies in nonhuman primate disease models. As nonhuman primates are phylogenetically and physiologically more similar to humans than other preclinical species, clinically relevant outcome measures may be used in HPR’s NHP models, thereby greatly enhancing translational potential of your preclinical findings to patients. HPR is seeking customers who value high quality preclinical data and partners who are interested in co-developing exiting, new nonhuman primates disease models.

JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) is a government related organization focused on promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and technological alliances between Japanese companies and overseas companies. Qualified companies can access our network such as market resources, industry advisers, partnering programs, IBSC free office space, incentives and subsidy information, access to Japan’s central, prefecture and local governments, consultation from certified professionals.

Osaka Prefectural Government – Osaka is the heart of the life science-industry in Japan including over 300 pharmaceutical companies and biomedical start-ups, as well as world leading research institutes. Osaka Prefectural Government is strongly promoting life science-related industry such as pharmaceutical and medical devices. As an administrative agency, Osaka Bio Headquarters offers the one-stop service for further development of your business with Osaka.

Kanagawa Prefectural Government – Kanagawa has a corporate cluster for the life science industry. You can expand business easier in Kanagawa. Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the field of life sciences since 2014.

Flash Talks – Lessons Learned from Cross-Cultural Business and Research

5:15-8:00pm [Octave, Sonata and Prome]

5:15 PM

“How and why will A.I. take our jobs?” [Octave]
Noriko Arai works as the Director of the Research Center for Community Knowledge at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, Japan. Her research interests are Mathematical Logic and Artificial Intelligence. In 2011, she became the Program Director of an AI grand challenge, Todai Robot Project. She will speak about the influences of AI technologies on different industries, especially in medicine and life science.

“iNOS inhibition of Hair Regeneration in Obese Diabetic Mice”[Prome]
Shohei Shinozaki has extensive experience and expertise in biochemistry, analysis of phenotypes in mice, and detection of post-translational cysteine thiol modifications (e.g., S-nitrosylation, oxidative thiol modifications) by the biotin-switch method. He has been working on the molecular mechanisms underlying stress (e.g., burn injury)- and obesity- induced insulin resistance and nitrosative stress. The content of his talk was actually discovered by chance, in the process of research about insulin resistance, and believes that we can develop new possibilities of iNOS inhibitor with this discovery.

6:15 PM

“The ecosystem incubating biotechnology in Japan and U.S.” [Sonata]
Ayano Kagami 
is a candidate of Master of Science in System Design and Management, MIT, and a fellow of Japanese Government Long-term fellowship. She will speak about the difference between Japan and Boston in incubating biotech start ups, from the perspective of a government officer who worked for the establishment of Japanese biotech ecosystem and as a student in boston. The biotech industry is the one of the biggest spot-lighted industry in the world; the Japanese government has been trying to catch up with this trend by making use of their advantage in the basic research area represented by iPS cells.

“A tan without the sun: a new approach for skin cancer prevention” [Octave]
Akinori Kawakami is a physician-scientist currently working as a researcher at the department of Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, trying to make the world better through science. His research focus is skin—especially melanocyte and melanoma—biology, and is eager to translate basic scientific findings into benefits for our health.

“Bio-inspired Materials for Biotech” [Prome]
Hiroshi Atsumi is a Research Scientist at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He focuses on applying biomolecules as a material for solving biotech problems. Specifically, he has used DNA as building blocks for the assembly of pre-determined architectures for many applications. His talk will focus on these smart materials and how we will use it for biotech.

7:15 PM

“Negotiation between Japanese companies and US startups”[Sonata]
Jo Sakurada is in charge of Economic Affairs in the Japanese Consulate. He will speak about the challenges and misunderstandings that can happen during business negotiations between Japanese pharma companies and US Biotechs, based on his past experience of scouting and negotiating research collaborations from the pharma side.

“Cardiac Hormone for Cancer Treatments” [Octave]
Takashi Nojiri is the laboratory chief of the department of Biochemistry at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center Research INstitute. Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) is a heart-derived secretory peptide that mediates a wide range of biological functions. We found that ANP can prevent cancer metastasis via vascular endothelial cells. We have tried to develop ANP treatments for “anti-metastatic therapy” or “Enhancement of the effects of chemo/radiation/immunotherapy”.

“Tracing Chromosomes at the Nanoscale” [Prome]
Hiroshi Sasaki is a postdoc in Peng Yin’s lab at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and is leveraging DNA nanotechnology to develop advanced single-cell imaging technologies. He will talk about his novel highly multiplexed super-resolution microscopy methods to sample chromosomal targets at the nanoscale in individual cells. These tools allow researchers to ask questions about how DNA transactions such as replication, transcription, and repair are faithfully carried out by our cells and how they are disrupted in disease.

Innovate Pharma: Reverse Pitches & Round-table with Pharma Industry Leaders

6:00-7:00pm [Havana]

Multinational pharmaceutical corporations deliver a reverse pitch of their current open innovation initiatives, and discuss the opportunities and challenges that lie in the Boston Bio Ecosystem.


Daniel Curran, Senior Vice President, Head of the Center for External Innovation, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
The mission of Takeda’s Center for External Innovation (CEI) is to source, transact, and support innovative external ideas to create new therapeutic options to treat disease in Takeda’s therapeutic areas of interest. The responsibilities of CEI include overseeing all research and development, business development activities, strategic venture investments, academic alliances, externalization/spin-outs, and supporting merger and acquisition efforts.

Christian SchubertDirector and Head of R&D External Innovation, Servier BioInnovation

Christian joined the Servier Group as Director of Servier BioInnovation, the inaugural U.S. office of the Servier International Research Network (SIRN), aimed at identifying opportunities and potential partners globally in the Group’s five therapeutic areas. He trained in neurobiology and biochemistry at MIT and Harvard, and is an expert in health-related life science innovation. Christian has previously held positions with Biogen and Pfizer in R&D, Corporate Strategy and External Innovation. He serves as strategic advisor to multiple life science venture funds and startup companies.

Makoto Mark Ohori, Head of AIM Cambridge DRY, Astellas Pharmaceuticals
Mark was appointed Head of AIM Cambridge DRY in April 2018. From 2015-2018, He was a Visiting Scientific Director for Astellas Venture Management LLC (Menlo Park, CA), working in-residence at Potenza Therapeutics (Cambridge, MA) where he served as Co-chair of the Joint Steering Committee overseeing a strategic immuno-oncology research collaboration between the companies. Previously, Mark was an Investment Director at Astellas Venture Management, where he led investments in early-stage biotech companies and established research partnerships with both biopharmaceutical companies and academic institutions.

Moderated by: Carrie Allen, Executive Director, CIC Captains of Innovation

Pitches by Biotech Startups from the US and Japan

7:00-8:00pm [Havana]

MITAS Medical Inc. was founded in 2017 with the mission to “make medical treatment available to everyone.” We have started an ambitious project that aims to reconstruct traditional medical examinations offered at eye clinics or hospital ophthalmology departments using a smartphone to offer remote diagnosis that is timely, cheap and adequate. We envision providing our services to people who live in isolated areas or need home medical care in Japan, to people in regions where the number of ophthalmologists is insufficient (such as Southeast Asia, Africa, etc.) and in countries like the U.S. or Canada that extend over vast territories. We seek opportunities to promote our device in all of these countries and to get new ideas.

Hinge Therapeutics is an early-stage biopharmaceutical company based out of Sunnyvale CA. Our focus is on developing small-molecule therapeutics against traditionally undruggable/challenging targets for unmet medical needs. Our proprietary Hinge Discovery Platform has generated several novel inactivators against targets which are traditionally targeted only by large molecules such as antibody and siRNA. We are seeking investors/partners who can help us advance these programs while further establishing our “hinge discovery platform” which we believe can be applied to many other challenging targets.

Akrivis Technologies is a biopharmaceutical company founded in 2009 and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Akrivis is focused on the early diagnosis, nuclear imaging and safer treatment of serious and life-threatening diseases from its patented pre-targeted payload deliver technology platform.

M Bio Technology is a leading company focused on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutic strategy for Mycoplasma Infectious Diseases (MID). We have acquired international patents for the diagnosis, prevention, and precision treatment of MIDs, which include not only pneumonia and asthma but also intractable neurological, skin, and renal diseases, in which common pathological mechanism is inflammation/fibrosis around blood vessel and nerves throughout the entire body caused by MIDs. We are in search of more funding, connecting with pharmaceuticals companies and clinical researches/hospitals, as well as other corporate partners.

Braizon Therapeutics has a drug delivery technology for crossing Blood Brain Barrier to deliver any molecules into the brain. In addition, if the current difficulties with existing drugs targeting the brain are overcome, expectations are high that repositioning will be the result. We are rapidly consolidating research and micelle production systems so that feasibility studies and joint research with pharmaceutical companies can be vigorously pursued. We plan to open a research lab in Boston to facilitate smooth joint research with the western pharmaceutical companies, and are looking for investment and business development support in the US.

Revela Biotechnology is a biotech startup based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, seeking early-stage investors. Our focus is on developing modified single-domain antibody fragments as PET imaging agents to detect cancer and evaluate efficacy of ongoing treatments. Revela’s patented technology delivers superior PET imaging sensitivity compared to current methods. A primary focus is the clinical development of products that non-invasively track the human immune system in tumors, allowing us to rapidly evaluate the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies.

CellSeed Inc. is a Japan-based biotechnology innovator committed to the development and commercialization of highly differentiated tissue-engineered products for patients that are not sufficiently served by current medical technologies. We are exploring business partnerships with overseas companies for expanding cell sheet engineering, platform technology pioneered in Japan to the world.

Moderated by: Matt Krebs, Executive Director of Japan Society Boston


CIC Japan Desk

Consulate General of Japan to Boston

Japan Society Boston


June 7, 2018