Imperial College London

Fast Train to Tokyo: Faculty of Medicine CP Team Visit Japan

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Japanese Healthcare

The team travelled to present the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) strategy to delegates in Tokyo and Osaka

The Faculty of Medicine Corporate Partnerships team visit Japan to meet with companies and government

February saw the arrival of Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine Corporate Partnerships team in Japan to introduce the breadth of healthcare research at Imperial and discuss models of collaboration with new and existing industry partners in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device sectors.

Dr. Vjera Magdalenic-Moussavi and Dr. Sandra Esteras Chopo spent 5 days speaking with companies, alumni and government organisations through seminars, workshops and closed meetings to introduce the medical research and innovation landscape of Imperial to the College’s strategic Japanese partners in Osaka and Tokyo.

Demonstrating Capabilities

The team presented the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) strategy, which forms a key translational bridge between Imperial’s medical research facilities and the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and beyond.  The strategy emphasises the College’s strengths in neurodegenerative disease, microbiome research, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and oncology specifically. 

One of the four academics joining the team, Dr. Marc Dumas, Reader in Translational Systems Medicine in Imperial’s Department of Surgery and Cancer, presented on “Systems Genomics of Metabolism” and discussed applications for the pharmaceuticals industry whilst another, Dr. Andrew Edwards, Non-clinical Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology, gave a presentation focussing on “Novel Mechanism of Antibiotic Resistance in Staphylococcus Aureus”. 

Antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacterium, such as MRSA, have become a worldwide problem in clinical medicine in recent decades and still remain without an approved vaccine.  Imperial’s commitment to and expertise in this field was reinforced by Professor Alison Holmes, Professor of Infectious Diseases, who also joined to speak extensively about the multidisciplinary Antimicrobial Research Collaborative (ARC) set up across Imperial’s labs and NHS Trusts.

New Opportunities

The Imperial trip coincided with the signing of a new agreement between Britain’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and Japan’s Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED).  The Memorandum of Cooperation aims to advance human health by combining the two nations’ scientific expertise and pinpoints regenerative medicine, dementia, antimicrobial resistance and infectious disease as crucial battlegrounds for the alliance.

The Corporate Partnerships team also discussed at length the translation services integrated into the College that make sure academic research and clinical trials gain real societal impact.  Alongside, the BRC’s dedicated facilities, the ARC, Cancer Research UK laboratories, dedicated neurological disease networks and bio banks, the College has recently opened a dedicated Translation and Innovation Hub (I-HUB) at Imperial’s new White City campus, London. 

However, perhaps the most powerful translational tool is direct academic-industrial collaboration.  To this end, Dr. Magdalenic-Moussavi and Dr. Esteras Chopo held sustained talks with companies to explore new ways of addressing public health issues by commercialising Imperial’s research. 

They met with, amongst others, the oldest pharmaceutical company in Japan, Ono Pharmaceuticals (est. 1717), Shionogi, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Astellas, Kyorin and Daiichi Sankyo.  With the latter two companies having already reciprocated the visit, the team hope to repay the hospitality of all companies over the coming months and years with trips to Imperial’s London campuses and clinics.

The trip was organised with the help of a number of key collaborators.  The Osaka workshop was hosted by the Osaka Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association while the Tokyo workshop was in partnership with the Japanese Bioindustry Association (JBA).  The British Embassy in Tokyo and the Consulate of Osaka were invaluable co-hosts alongside the College’s long-term partner MedCity who joined and facilitated specific areas of the trip.

The visit is one of many planned by the college-wide Corporate Partnerships teams to foster new relationships and visit existing partners on home soil. 

If you are working in Pharmaceuticals or with medical technologies and would like to hear more about the Faculty of Medicine's Corporate Partnerships activities please get in touch with the team at enterprise-fom@imperial.ac.uk

Reporter

Naomi Black

Naomi Black
Enterprise

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Cancer, East-Asia, Genomics, Global-health, Imperial-College-Health-Partners, Public-health, Research, Translation, Bacteria, Enterprise
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