Japanese Biotech Startups Learn the Ropes from UC San Diego Innovation Experts

Japanese Biotech Startups Learn the Ropes from UC San Diego Innovation Experts

Abrax Japan is one of the more mature teams that has licensed technologies from the University of Pennsylvania related to the therapeutic use of the protein thymic stromal lymphopoietin to treat skin issues and, later, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Joon Paek, COO of Abrax, said that making these connections through IGE will be key for the company as they look to expand into the US.

“I learned that San Diego is the place to be,” said Paek. “Being a part of the IGE family and being an honorary member of the San Diego ecosystem means that I know where we can get help, that there are people who are willing to spend their time and sweat with you who genuinely want you to succeed, and that it’s a really great environment in San Diego.”

Ryo Kitagawa, a spine surgeon on the team at Spine Chronicle Japan, a company developing a spinal implant for osteoporosis, is new to entrepreneurship and appreciated learning about tools to objectively obsess business strategies and success metrics. 

“I’m an active spine surgeon in Japan,” said Kitagawa. “I know very little about business and startups so these two weeks I learned a lot. Every day I felt uncomfortable- that’s when I know I’m growing. I’m willing to take on this challenge.”

Physiologas Technologies is a Tokyo, Japan-based startup developing a home dialysis device for patients with kidney disease. Unlike the few existing companies in either the United States or Japan offering home dialysis, their system requires no water at all– and therefore no plumbing components– making it significantly easier to install and use.

“We have to make a go or no-go decision to enter the US market,” said Kazuyoshi Miyawaki, managing director of Physiologas Technologies. “These two weeks gave us a lot of information to help make that decision.”

The Institute for the Global Entrepreneur will continue to provide mentoring virtually to the initial cohort of startups for the rest of the first program year.  Using the newly acquired skills and connections, the startups will attend international conferences and meet with potential partners to expand business opportunities in the US and global markets. The Institute for the Global Entrepreneur is expected to serve as the San Diego accelerator for this program in the years to come.