03 Jun Wisconsin biotechs plan Japan trade mission
Madison, Wis. — Wisconsin’s life science companies have another chance to strengthen ties with Japan at an executive meeting held Friday at the MG&E Innovation Center.
Sponsored by the Japan External Trade Organization, or JETRO, the gathering will offer attendees an inside look into how Wisconsin biotech companies are partnering with similar companies in Japan. Executives who have traveled to Japan will talk about the difficulties and rewards of doing business there, and JETRO officials will discuss the results of previous trade missions.
“It’s all about business matching between Japanese and Wisconsin companies,” said Takahiro Hagisako, business advisor for JETRO and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.
The meeting is also intended as a recruitment drive for JETRO’s Biomission to Japan, where attendees will have the opportunity to network with Japanese companies and study biotechnology research. Last year, JETRO invited representatives from 40 companies and universities in the largest Midwest delegation to Japan ever, which included Governor Jim Doyle’s fact-finding mission.
• Read more about the trade delegation and the governor’s mission
Two of the main speakers at the event are the antibodies producer NeoClone and the molecular cloning firm Lucigen. In February representatives of both Wisconsin life sciences companies visited the Chiba Prefecture, a DNA research center that is considered a sister state to Wisconsin.
Deven McGlenn, CEO of NeoClone, said that over the course of the trip JETRO and Japanse officials went to great lengths to set up one-on-one meetings with biotech companies. Both Lucigen and NeoClone were closely introduced to the Japanese markets and are setting up partnerships that came directly from these meetings.
“I challenge any other small biotech company to find this many meetings lined up in a three-day period,” McGlenn said.
The conference will also feature words by JCL Bioassay, a Japanese pharmaceutical company with offices in Evanston, Illinois. Hagisako said that the company, which JETRO helped establish the American office of, is a “Japan-Midwest success story” due to its achievements and ability to set up in a new country.
Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, said that is important to continue building ties between since they are a huge market for biotech and also very interested in working with Wisconsin. Japanese biotech companies are watching the state closely, looking at the research being done at the universities and the spin-offs the research creates.
As both countries develop their biotechnology resources, Still predicted there will be more opportunities for mutual trading and research.
“There are pharmaceutical companies that are quite large and looking for intellectual capital in Japan, and Wisconsin may have the companies and ideas to get into those pipelines,” Still said.