A delegation of researchers and government officials from Toyama, Japan visited Arizona to learn more about the state’s budding bioscience industry and the work being conducted by its universities and research institutes.
The group, which also showcased its own bioscience industry in Japan, met with researchers and scientists at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, GenoSensor Corp. in Tempe, Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, and the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona.
The delegation has studied Arizona’s statewide bioscience strategy as a potential model for replication in Toyama. As part of the visit, the group received a briefing on Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap during a visit to the Flinn Foundation in downtown Phoenix.
Toyama has more than 300 years of history in the drug industry, and the Toyama prefecture is one of the largest industrial areas in Japan. The Toyama Medical/Bio Cluster hopes to take advantage of these strengths to create new bioscience related businesses, obtain patents, and commercialize research results.
Universities and public research institutes in Toyama and companies throughout Japan are collaborating to develop diagnostic and treatment systems based on human immune functions and herbal medicine-based systems for personalized treatments appropriate for each patient.
The team has already produced concrete results, including the creation of a “cell chip” where hundreds of thousands of individual cells can be placed on a 10 mm. square. They have also developed a screening apparatus that can select just a few antigen-specific B-lymphocyte cells from the multitude of cells on the chip. They are currently working to create a prototype to automate this screening apparatus.
Visiting from the University of Toyama were Yasumaru Hatanaka, dean of Graduate School of Medicine & Pharmaceutical Sciences; Hiroyuki Kishi, professor, department of medicine and pharmaceutical sciences; and Atsushi Muraguchi, professor, department of immunology.
Representing the Toyama New Industry Organization were Yasuo Nannichi, senior consultant and science/technology coordinator; and Hiroyoshi Nakazato, Toyama Medical/Bio Cluster intellectual property manager.
Representing the public sector were Motoki Tsuruyama, executive assistant in the commerce industry and labor department of Toyama prefectural government; and Mihoko Minabe, president of Yuki International Corp.
Arizona Department of Commerce representatives Mu-Tin Huang, Micah Miranda, and Karla Teixeira served as local hosts for the delegation.
For more information: