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Cabinet Office Certifies Two Global Biotech Communities in Tokyo and Kansai Areas


The Cabinet Office certified the Greater Tokyo Biocommunity in the Tokyo area, and Biocommunity Kansai (BiocK) in the Kansai area, on April 22 this year.

According to a statement by Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Takayuki Kobayashi, "My hope is that this certification serves as an opportunity for each biocommunity to leverage its strengths, deepen the connections between stakeholders, and become biocommunities that can compete on the global stage. The Cabinet Office intends to provide any support necessary in collaboration with related government ministries through strategic sharing of information and initiatives to strengthen collaboration with related measures."

The Cabinet Office has established the Bio-Strategy in order to make Japan the world's most advanced bio-economy society by 2030. Accordingly, the Cabinet Office is proceeding with the formation of biocommunities in order to attract talent and investment from throughout Japan and the world to expand biotechnology-related markets, strengthen the ability to provide products and services in each market domain, and improve the ability to enter global markets.

The two types of biocommunities being certified by the government are global biocommunities that aim to become hubs for global innovation, and regional biocommunities that carry out initiatives unique to their community.

In June of last year, the government certified Hokkaido, Tsuruoka, Nagaoka, and Fukuoka as regional biocommunities. Now the Greater Tokyo Biocommunity in the Tokyo area, and Biocommunity Kansai (BiocK) in the Kansai area, have been certified as global biocommunities that will take the lead in global biotechnology domains by building a strategic value chain involving numerous stakeholders, from research and development to commercialization.

Certification means that a platform can be formed for the government to centrally gather and understand the needs of each community with regard to support and regulations and help solve any bottlenecks found. Certified communities will also receive support for collaborating with the various policies of such ministries as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), as well as other related programs of the Cabinet Office such as the Startup City Project and Smart Cities project, in order to further promote human resource development and infrastructure.

In addition to the high density of biotechnology related industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and fermentation, as well as research facilities, Biocommunity Kansai (BiocK) will leverage the potential posed by the international recognition enjoyed by such cities as Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, to accelerate support for startups and collaboration between academic institutions and research organizations through company-centered working groups in order to develop an ecosystem to work on solutions for the problems of society through the power of biotechnology for a wide range of market domains including, but not limited to, the life sciences. The task of managing the new biocommunity will fall to the NPO Kinki Bio-Industry Development Organization and the Urban Innovation Institute (UII).

Meanwhile, the Greater Tokyo Biocommunity will work to communicate about and bring attention to the capabilities of the Tokyo region, home to no less than eight different bio-innovation centers, including Tsukuba, Nihonbashi, and Yokohama, each already a gathering place for diverse stakeholders. Furthermore, they will promote human resource development, the development of new centers, and encourage more active investment, through collaboration with both domestic biocommunities and those in other countries, in order to maximize the potential of industry in a wide variety of market domains in order to become a world class innovation center. Management of the Greater Tokyo Biocommunity will be handled by the Japan Bioindustry Association.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd.( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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