16-8 Promising ventures in Japan: The University Venture Award 2021

Japan’s Science and Technology Agency JST and NEDO, project house of the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, offer an annual award to startups, financially supported by companies. The 2021 prize was awarded to

  1. Heartseed Co. https://heartseed.jp

Heartseed, a spin-off of Kyoto University, develops cardiac regeneration medicine for severe heart failure, using iPS cells. The company has established a method for mass producing cardiomyocytes from allogenic tissue, supplied by the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application CiRA in Kyoto. A clinical trial for Phase 1/2 study obtained permission in March 2021, and will start later this year. On June 1, 2021 Heartsed announced that it has entered into an exclusive technology collaboration and license agreement with Novo Nordisk of Denmark for its allogenic cardiomyocytes. The reward is supported by Ajinomoto which has optimised the medium to culture the cardiomyocytes.

2. Regional Fish Co. https://regional.fish 

The company, a spin-off of Kyoto University, aims to revolutionize Japan’s fisheries industry through the combination of accelerated fish breeding, based on genome editing, and smart, land-based aquaculture. For the latter aspect, it is supported by Ebara Co., a pump company.

3. OriCiro Co. https://www.oriciro.com 

The company, supported by Rikkyo University, is focused on DNA synthesis and amplification technology based on amplifying long DNA strands without using cells. Its in vitro complete reconstitution system of genome replication cycles uses purified proteins and is claimed to be the only company in the world that can amplify genome-size long DNA strands as cyclic molecules, e.g., for the use in synthetic biology.

4. Raputya Robotics Co. https://www.rapyuta-robotics.com/ja/company/ 

The company, supported by ETH Zurich, develops cloud computing platforms for robots and is based on the vision that within 5 years, 10% of all robots globally will be connected to their control platform. Industrial support is from Monoful Co. which provides robotics solutions and develops a cloud robotics platform.

5. Matrixome Co. https://matrixome.co.jp/en/ 

The company, a spin-off of Osaka University, commercializes and sells laminin E8 fragment proteins, which are useful substrates for cell culture as surface-cultured pluripotent cells of clinical grade can be easily removed from this protein-engineered surface. Industrial support is from Nippi Co., which produces these surface proteins.

6. RTI-cast Co. https://www.rti-cast.co.jp 

The company is a spin-off of Tohoku University and develops a Tsunami disaster information system that immediately predicts tsunami inundation damage at the time of an earthquake based on supercomputer terrain modelling and crustal movement observation. Industrial partners are Kokusai Kogyo, NEC, and EITO. 


16-8 Promising ventures in Japan: The University Venture Award 2021
Scroll to top