In recent years, the development of innovative medical devices has shown remarkable success in Silicon Valley with Stanford University at the center. One of the reasons for this success is the continued fostering of talents for value-driven medical device development at Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign while working closely with the mature innovation ecosystem.
During Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Stanford University in 2015, he spoke about the need to develop medical devices and talent in Japan similar to that in Silicon Valley, and with the support of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan Biodesign was launched by the triple alliance of Osaka University, the University of Tokyo, and Tohoku University in collaboration with Stanford University.
To foster talents for value-driven medical device development, we have launched our flagship Japan Biodesign Fellowship Program with support from MEXT, the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) under the “Strategic Promotion Program for Bridging Research”, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and the Japan Medical Devices Industry Association (JFMDA). Working in close collaboration with Stanford Biodesign to develop a Japanese version of Biodesign, we have now trained a number of fellows with this program.
Four years later, 41 fellows (12 teams) who have completed their fellowship program and acquired expertise in value-driven medical device development are now working in their respective positions to contribute to society. In particular, they have started six companies, acquired funding to start their own businesses and continue their projects, or even returned to the companies from which they were dispatched to incorporate their work into the ecosystem.
In response to demands from various sectors, we have also organized seminars and workshops for people from the industry, academia, government, and medicine to learn about Biodesign in a short period of time, with currently 868 people (including 712 from the companies and 67 doctors) having learned about methods of Biodesign through events led by Japan Biodesign.
Through these activities, we have had the opportunity to attract new and in-depth interest from various sectors. Thanks to your overwhelming support, we have been able to make increasing progress in the four years since the launch of Japan Biodesign, and we feel that the Biodesign community is steadily spreading.
While it goes without saying that academia goes hand in hand with the Biodesign community for fostering talents, our program compels us to work to closely link all the sectors together. Therefore, we have decided to launch the Nihon Biodesign Gakkai (academic society of Japan Biodesign) as the greatest common factor to further accelerate this trend. While promoting close collaborations with other overseas institutions such as Stanford Biodesign, we will strive to ensure that innovative medical devices are developed one after another from Japan.
To provide better medical care to patients, we will connect all stakeholders in and out of Japan through this conference, including medical professionals with their challenges and needs, companies with advanced technologies, experts of regulations and business models in this area, and more, to form a great team with the knowledge and experience necessary for implementing medical devices. We are determined to realize the birth of medical devices in Japan that will contribute to better medical care by providing new value to medical practices around the world. Thank you very much and we look forward to your continued support.
Chairman, Yoshiki Sawa