Special Focus: Biotechnology

This month in the “Special Focus” section, we focus on the Biotechnology sector in Japan.
Information on the various related sub-sectors, the latest reports as well as the previous webinar on this topic are available on the following links.



Japan has one of the most developed biotechnology sectors in the world, as evidenced by the high number of patents filed. The number of bio venture start-ups peaked in 2013 and  several foreign firms are now trying to enter the market. Moreover, the government is supporting the sector’s development and has passed several laws to assist it; it is being viewed as a national strategy. To read more, please click on the link below:

About Biotechnology

Japan is the third largest pharmaceuticals market in the world. As a result of the country's ageing population, there is a continuous increase in societal healthcare awareness. Japan has a number of internationally operating research companies that are actively looking for collaboration opportunities with new and innovative pharmaceutical companies. The healthcare and medical industries make up the majority of the biotechnology sector in Japan, and its expansion is an integral part of the Abe administration’s growth strategy. To find our more, please see below: 


Japan remains one of the world’s largest per-capita importers of food and feed produced using modern biotechnologies. Annually, Japan imports about 15 million metric tons (MT) of corn, three million MT of soybeans and 2.4 million MT of canola from around the world, in which genetic engineering is predominantly used. Japan also imports huge amounts of processed foods containing biotechnology-produced ingredients. To read more, please click on the following link: 

Biotechnology in Agriculture

As Asia’s largest bioinformatics database is based in Japan, this is an important and competitive sector for the country. In particular, the application of bioinformatics to the pharmaceutical industry is the subject of significant R&D in Japan. To find out more, please see below:





Japan is one of the major countries that European biotech companies target in their expansion when it comes to internationalisation. In the healthcare sector, and more specifically in the therapeutics development field, partnerships between European and Japanese pharmaceutical companies well established in their respective local markets has typically involved License agreements on co-development and commercialisation rights. The Japanese inlicensor would typically get the rights on a product of European origin to pursue its clinical development in Japan, obtain the local regulatory approval, and commercialise it in the domestic Japanese market. To read the report, please click below:

Japan Bioventures Landscape

In medical/health, "therapeutic antibody" market has expanded from 128 (2008) to 515 (2015) billion yen. The bio-pharmaceutical market in 2002 was less than ¥400 billion, but with antibody pharmaceuticals as a growth driver, it was approaching 1 trillion-yen in 2012. In addition to the launch of new antibody drugs that increased sales by acquiring multiple indications of expansion, they grew to 400-billion-yen in 2012 and expanded sales to hold over 40% of the bio-pharmaceutical market share. To read more, please click below: 

Biotechnology Market in Japan

According to a forecast by the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry (METI), the Japanese and global markets for regenerative medicinal products such as individual types of cells or even more complex assemblies of different cell types (organoids, blood vessels etc.) will develop strongly in the next decades. It will provide therapies for major diseases, such as heart ailments, age-related impairment of sight, deteriorating liver or kidney tissue, or age-related dysfunctions of glands as, e.g., observed during diabetes-2 or Parkinson’s disease. In the cosmetic field, cell technology holds the promise that loss of hair or aging skin may eventually be cured by juvenile hair or skin developed from the patient’s own tissue. To read more please click on the following link: 

Update on cell technology, cell therapy, tissue engineering and gene therapy in Japan

To access other reports on this topic, please click on the links below:


The webinar was targeted to EU companies seeking to partner or get into business with Japanese companies or startups active in regenerative medicine or gene therapy. To access the recording of this webinar, please see below:

Update on cell technology, cell therapy, tissue engineering and gene therapy in Japan