Executive Vice President, Japan External Trade Organization
On behalf of the organizers, I would like to thank all of you for attending this year's HVC Kyoto, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. In this edition, we are pleased to announce that we have upgraded the content of the event to increase its impact. Today, we will hear from Dr. Fruehauf, CEO of Biolabs/LabCentral, which has been a regular contributor to the event since its inception, and Mr. Morita, CEO of Modaris Therapeutics Corp., which went public this summer, will introduce the Boston ecosystem. Also, Professor Shamloo from Stanford University's SPARK program that has contributed speakers since the first event, will join Professor Koyanagi to discuss the nature of industry-academia collaboration. In addition to the US, a session will be held for the UK for the first time with the cooperation of the British Embassy. Innovate UK and CGT Catapult will introduce UK ecosystems.
And above all, HVC Kyoto is an English-language pitch event dedicated to the healthcare sector. Today, we are delighted to have pitches by 26 startups from Kyoto, Japan and abroad. Given the difficult times under COVID-19, we are encouraged by the number of startups we have been able to attract to the event, including those participating online. I understand that the speakers have been mentored in advance, and I am very much looking forward to hearing about your new technologies, products and business models. I would also like to thank the experts who will serve as mentors today.
In addition, I would like to thank our partners, including Takeda and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, for their support.
Now I would like to take a moment to introduce JETRO's innovation support activities. JETRO is the trade and investment promotion arm of the Japanese government. In recent years, the creation of innovation has been one of our top priorities. JETRO's activities can be divided into three main categories in this field.
First is to assist Japanese startups in expanding business overseas. The Japanese government has launched the "J-Startup" initiative, and assigned JETRO as its implementation organization. Currently 140 firms have been selected as members of the initiative. Himuka AM Pharma, which will present today, is one of them. We have set up "Global Acceleration Hubs" at 27 tech-cities in the world, to assist Japanese startups expanding overseas including J-Startups.
Second is to assist overseas startups and relevant companies in entering Japan. Last summer the US accelerator and venture capital firm "Plug and Play" set up an operation in Kyoto as second base after Tokyo, for which JETRO provided assistance.
There will be nine overseas startups making pitches today, and we hope that JETRO will be able to help them enter the Japanese market.
Third is to support Japanese tech-companies open innovation efforts. We connect Japanese tech-companies with foreign startups on occasions such as CEATEC, the largest tech trade show in Japan. In addition, we work with universities. JETRO established an Open Innovation Support Desk at Kyoto University this May.
Five years ago, JETRO's life-science business program between Kyoto and Boston led to the establishment of the HVC Kyoto for the first time. We did an intensive discussion with Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto City, Kyoto Research Park and Kyoto University, and ended up creating this ambitious platform, HVC Kyoto.
This July, the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe region was designated as a Startup Ecosystem City by the Cabinet Office. There is no doubt that HVC Kyoto will become an increasingly important place for innovation in the future.
I would like to finish by expressing my hope that attractive startups and ventures in Japan will spread their wings into the global market, that business and collaboration with overseas companies will flourish, and that Kyoto's life science ecosystem will continue to grow.
Thank you very much!