Despite its reputation for prolific and innovative technology development and its increasing ageing population, Japan has largely been left behind in the medical device field. Why? According to a 2013 Fortune Magazine article, “Japanese innovation, full of vitality and promise at the R&D level, rarely makes it across the perilous divide between research and commercialization. Japan is ‘good at technology but poor in business’ as one official put it.” Differing missions between academia and corporations and a disproportionately heavy import economy for medicines had created what some have called the Japanese “Death Valley” in healthcare R&D.
More recent reports have shown the import/export ratio evening out with just under half of the market supplied by imports. The Japanese medical device industry is now the second largest in the world, after the US, but the Japanese medical device market is still largely under-utilized.
In 2014, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched an ambitious package of economic reforms to unlock Japan’s growth potential. The “New Growth Strategy,” further described in a June 2014 Wall Street Journal article, promotes a policy of “life innovation” as one of its highest priorities. This new strategy aims to capitalize on Japan’s innovation in healthcare products and medical devices to meet the demands of the world’s aging population, including its own. Japan’s medical device sector is expected to grow considerably, and is ripe with opportunities for global medical device developers and partners.
In response to this opportunity, EBD Group has launched a new partnering-focused event for the medical technology community in Japan. The Medtech Partnering Forum features a unique program that caters to this growing sector and provides a valuable platform to highlight innovations and best practices for partnering with US and EU companies. Together with the support of Japan Bioindustry Association (JBA) and The RavenOye Group, this Forum will facilitate new opportunities for collaborations in product development and commercialization.
Currently, there is no other event in Japan with this focus. The timing is perfect for the launch of Medtech Partnering Forum as Prime Minister Abe has made this sector one of the primary growth areas for the country. Medtech Partnering Forum 2015 will take place May 28–29 in Tokyo, Japan. Register before March 27, 2015 and save USD 200.