Report: Latest trends in biotechnology research in Japan

Japan spends consistently over 3% of its GDP on R&D, of which some 70% come from industry. Concerning biotech-related R&D, more than half is directed towards pharmaceutical and medical goals, but agricultural, industrial and environmental biotech are recently getting more attention in view of a future “bioeconomy” based on “smart cells” and a better integration of biological and digital innovations. Japanese industry, supported by long-term government programs, is eager to identify such innovations world-wide, and mechanisms which are in place to establish international partnerships will be discussed.

About the Experts

Dr Rolf Schmid, CEO. Bio4Business, Stuttgart, Germany. Mr Schmid studied biochemistry and microbiology at the Universities of Munich and Freiburg in Germany. After obtaining his doctor degree, he became a post-doctoral researcher at the CNRS in Gif-sur-Yvette and at the University of Texas in Austin. He joined Henkel KGaA in Dusseldorf as a research scientist and served 15 years as head of biotechnology R&D of this company, before leaving for a directorate at a Helmholtz-Centre in Braunschweig coupled to a chair at Braunschweig University. 7 years later, he moved to Stuttgart University as Director of the Institute of Technical Biochemistry. In 2009, he founded Bio4Business, a consulting company in Stuttgart which profits from his 40 years experience on joint research projects with Japanese companies and academia, including a 3 months sabbatical at the University of Tokyo.

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