METI held wordwide competition on products for “well-aging” and selected 8 finalists

On October 9, METI held a pitch contest on products designed to support aging people (“First Well-Aging Society Summit Asia-Japan”). The following eight companies were selected as finalists:

GYENNO Technologies, Israel: electronic spoon “GYENNO SPOON” for patients with Parkinson’s disease, a spoon for trembling hands,

Intuition Robotics, Israel: social robot “ElliQ” which secures connection between elderly people and their families and society. ElliQ speaks and sends messages and photos to the family, streams news and music. It also monitors the activities of elderly people,

I’m Soul, Singapore: develops a system “Soundbeam” that plays music in accordance with the motion of the body read with a motion sensor. This will help that the elderly become energized,

mediVR, Japan: exercise rehabilitation treatment equipment utilizing VR (virtual reality),

SoundFun, Japan: a loudspeaker Mirai for people with loss of hearing. Conventional speaker uses cone type diaphragm, whereas the sound fan employs a curved diaphragm. With this structure, a sound is generated with higher energy over a wide frequency range. About 80% of hearing-impaired people said that it became easier to hear the sound,

LongGood MediTech, Taiwan: a virtual physical therapist consisting of a camera, a personal computer, and a television set. Because it is a simple system, it can be set up at home as well as in hospitals for continuous rehabilitation,

VideoVisit Global, Finland: 2/3 of 65 years old and over have some sort of chronic illness. VideoVisit Global has developed a system that integrates functions such as health care, on-line consultation, remote patient monitoring, etc., to support elderly living at home,

DFree Japan: a sensor which captures the filling of the bladder by ultrasonic sensor and informs by app when to go to the toilet,

Smart drones in a 4G LTE network as airborne police: Japan

NEDO, KDDI, Teradrone and SECOM, utilizing a 4 G LTE standard, conducted security experiments on multiple autonomously flying drones in Kanagawa Prefecture and succeeded in remote patrol security. By remote monitoring of camera images installed in the drones from the...

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Dai Nippon Printing: thin and stretchable skin displays

Based on developments at the University of Tokyo (JST ERATO Someya Project*) the company is developing a thin and stretchable skin display which it plans to market within 3 years**. In this device, 16 × 24 px micro light emitting diodes and stretchable wires are...

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NEDO-supported consortium builds large-scale hybrid storage battery system in Farrel, Lower Saxony

NEDO and Hitachi Kasei, Hitachi Power Solutions and NGK Insulators have completed a large-scale hybrid storage battery system in Farrel city, Lower Saxony, Germany and will start operation from November 1, 2018. The system consists of two types of storage batteries with different characteristics (lithium ion battery and sodium sulfur battery, total capacity 11.5 MW / 22.5 MWh). By making the system capable of high power, large capacity, chargeable and dischargeable, adjustment of the electricity supply-demand balance will be easier to reach and help to the stabilize input of wind energy into the power grid. A business model of new power trading based on this system will also be developed.

NEDO news release, October 31, 2018

Otsuka Pharmaceuticals signs agreement on cardiomyocyte technology with Adipo Medical Technology

Adipo Medical Technology Co. (AMT), an Osaka venture company, operates an AMED-supported project on the “Development of Multiple Lineage Precursor Cells from Allogeneic Adipose Tissue as a Cellular Medicine for the Treatment of Severe Heart Failure”, under project leadership of Akinobu Matsuyama at Fujita Medical University. Otsuka has announced that it has signed an agreement with AMT on a joint development of this technology including clinical trials.

Otsuka Pharmaceuticals news release, October 30, 2018

Lion reports positive impact on oral health using its saliva test system SMT

Lion Co. introduced its SMT test (salivary multi test) in May 2016. The test strip kit allows the simultaneous measurement of six saliva indicators within 5 minutes: cariogenic bacteria, pH and buffer capacity, leukocytes, proteins and ammonia, as an indicator related to oral cleanliness. After many field tests including 80 employees of Lion in Hirosaki City, it turned out that the test has raised awareness about good oral hygiene and has led to improvement of oral health as judged by dentists evaluation.

Lion Co.,

Daicel and Chitose to collaborate on C-4 chemicals from glycerol

Daicel has collaborative research with Nihon University, using wild-type bacteria, which produce erythritol from glycerin. Chitose is a specialist in bacterial mutagenesis and has developed a process for microbial butanediol production. Both companies will collaborate to improve the yield of various C-4 compounds from glycerol.

Nikkei Biotech news release, October 24, 2018

Japan will introduce charges for the use of plastic shopping bags from 2020

The Ministry of Environment has decided to stop free distribution of plastic shopping bags from 2020. Appropriate replacement of bags from renewable resources such as recycled materials, paper and biomass plastics will be supported. By 2030 it is aimed to have introduced biomass plastic at a level of about 2 million tons.

Nikkei Biotech news release, October 23, 2018

Tokai University Hospital to test osteoarthritis treatment by autologous cartilage cell sheet transfer

In a future doctor-led trial, cartilage of a patient’s knee is collected with an arthroscope, and self-laminated chondrocyte cell sheets (2 or more) are manufactured at the hospital’s cell culture center. At the time of high tibial oseotomy, defective tissue is excised and self-laminated chondrocyte sheets are transplanted following bone marrow stimulation. The number of subject cases is 20. The main endpoint is the effectiveness at 1 year after operation. Implementation period is 4 years for case registration, and 5 years for total observation period, totaling nine years.

Nikkei Biotech news release, October 23, 2018

RIKEN team develops improved simulation software of protein 3D structures from cryo-electron microscope images

A team around Yuji SUGITA at RIKEN has developed a high-speed parallel computing algorithm for the refinement of 3D structures obtained through cryo-electron microscope images. Since this procedure does not require protein crystallization, the stereoscopic image of large biomolecules such as ribosomes and protein complexes can be solved with close to atomic resolution. The software will be available free of charge.

RIKEN news release, October 19, 2018

NEDO holds „hydrogen ministerial conference”

With the participation of over 300 stakeholders from 21 countries, regions, and institutions the importance of international cooperation on hydrogen was stressed, and a policy toward global utilization of hydrogen was formulated (Tokyo Declaration). Japan will host the G20 Energy and Environment Ministers Meeting in June 2019.

NEDO news release, October 23, 2018

Kaneka sees further potential for biodegradable polymer PHBH

Kaneka’s Aonilex biopolymer, a bacterial copolymer from 2-hydroxybutyrate and 2-hydroxyhexanoate, will be produced at a level of 5000 t/y, but production could be raised shortly to 20,000 t, due to raising demands in Europe. The biopolymer is not only biodegradable, but also certified for food contact by FDA.

Nikkei Biotech news release, October 15, 2018

Kaneka advances soft tissue reconstruction using stem-cell technology

In its CellPort Clinic Yokohama acquired in 2012 Kaneka has already treated 1100 cases of soft tissue augmentation such as breast augmentation and breast cancer treatment and facial degenerative diseases using stem cells obtained from adipose tissue of the patient. Following a method developed by the University of Tokyo, mesenchymal stem cells extracted from separately collected fat and expanded in Kaneka’s BioMaster system is added to the adipose tissue before transplantation, reducing the amount of fat to be aspirated, so the breast can be rebuilt even in patients who are thin.

Yasuyoshi UEDA, Director of Kaneka’s Regeneration and Cellular Medicine Laboratory, lecture at BioJapan2018 in Yokohama

Team of Showa University and RIKEN regenerates functional salivary glands from mouse ES cells

Salivary glands, which are exocrine gland tissues, secrete saliva into the oral cavity. Saliva has digestive and antibacterial action and protects the oral mucosa. In xerostomia, salivary secretion is reduced. A team around Kenji MISHIMA from Showa University and RIKEN have identified, in mice, two genes (Sox9, Foxc1), which are important for the formation of salivary gland primordium. The group succeeded in regenerating 3D salivary glands by transfer of these genes into the mouse oral mucosal epithelium derived from ES cells. Induced salivary gland primordium derived from these ES cells was similar to embryonic salivary gland primordium as judged by morphological features and gene expression analysis.

RIKEN news release, October 12, 2018

Konica Minolta exhibits prototype of cellular activity measurement system

Konica Minolta exhibited  a prototype of a “Cellular Activity Evaluation System” at BioJapan 2018. It measures oxygen consumption of cells with high sensitivity and thus evaluates cell activity. Since cells can be measured nondestructively by this system, it could be used in applications such as extracorporeal artificial insemination and drug discovery.

Konica Minolta exhibit at BioJapan2018, Yokohama

Taiwan’s Aprinoia Therpeutics will do clinical trial of tau PET tracer in Japan in 2019

The PET-enhancing radiotracer  PM-PBB 3 / APN-1 was developed by the Quantum Science and Technology Research Organization · National Institute of Radiological Sciences and recognizes aggregation and accumulation of tau protein causing neurodegenerative lesion diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. It has orphan drug status in Japan. US Eli Lilly and Merck are said to do tau PET examination as well.

Aprinoia Japan news release, October 11, 2018