The 10th LINK-J Networking Night with Supporters was held at Nihonbashi Life Science Building on Thursday, November 2. The theme of the event was "Insights into UK Technology Transfer Collaborations and a Case Study of a Successful Biotech Spin-Out Company." Four lecturers, including Prof. Ludovic Vallier from the Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Cambridge, were invited from the U.K. to give presentations in the first half of the event, while a panel discussion took place in the second half.
First, Akihiko Soyama, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Shingo Tsuda, Technical Director of INDEE Japan Ltd., made opening remarks. Then, the first lecturer Griff Jones, First Secretary Head of Science, Innovation and Global Challenges, British Embassy Tokyo, talked about the ecosystem and the support system in the British life science business.
Next, Prof. Ludovic Vallier from the Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Cambridge gave an explanation about the iPS differentiation induction technology of the endoderm system including the liver, pancreas, lungs, and small intestine developed by his research team with the title of "Platform to differentiate hPSCs into clinically relevant cell types for drug screening and disease modelling."
Dr. Marcus Yeo, Chief Executive Officer, DefiniGEN, talked about DefiniGEN's services, projects, and the story until its establishment, such as iPS-derived disease model cells prepared by combining iPS differentiation induction with genome editing technology. Additionally, he explained the investment ecosystem of the University of Cambridge that supports DefiniGEN.
Under the title "University Technology Transfer - Lessons learnt from Oxford & elsewhere," the final lecturer Dr. Tim Hart, Development Director, Oxentia, talked about the outline of Oxentia, the consultation company supporting the transfer of technology handed over from Oxford University Innovation (OUI), successful examples, and future prospects.
A panel discussion followed the presentations, with Mr. Tsuda as the moderator. It was launched with the question: what motivated you to grow your business?
Dr. Yeo answered that he really wanted to develop outstanding technology as a result of research and send it out into the world. Prof. Vallier said that discovery in research drove him first, and that it then motivated him if the discovery was commercialized and his technology became available to pharmaceutical or biotech companies, and that the very first trigger was forming a team with Dr. Yeo. Dr. Hart commented that researchers at Oxford University were involved in business to understand the impact and applications of research results and feed it back to research, and that it was important to have the opportunity for exchanges like the one provided by LINK-J so as to have a good partnership.
The participants asked questions about the potential of alternatives to animal testing in drug and cosmetics development; superior points to other universities in terms of mediation between university and business; whether there is any difficulty in selling technology to pharmaceutical companies and tips for access to the market; and the situation of the market in terms of investment. This proactive participation made the discussion exciting.
After the lectures, a social event was held in the lounge on the tenth floor. At the end of the event, the participants gathered for a commemorative photo session while making "L" (for LINK-J) or "D" (for DefiniGEN) with their fingers.
The 11th event will take place on Thursday, February 15 next year with the themes of ICT & healthcare, and health-oriented company management. We look forward to seeing you there.