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First Flanders biotech seminar in Japan huge success

On 29 January 2002, FFIO and the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) organized a seminar in Tokyo, introducing the biotech sector in Flanders to 120 Japanese businessmen and scientists in this field.

The seminar was part of a larger cluster of promotional activities aimed at putting Flanders’ biotechnology on the map in Japan. During the first week of December 2001, FFIO Japan organized a press mission introducing some specialist Japanese journalists to the biotech sector in Flanders. Their articles, published in December 2001 and January 2002, became a publicity of crucial importance, not only for the biotech sector in Flanders, but also for the seminar co-organized by FFIO Japan and the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) on 29 January 2002, in Tokyo.

Prior to the seminar, FFIO Japan took on the Japanese translation of a FFIO life sciences brochure, originally written in English. During the second week of January 2002, this Japanese version was distributed among a number of key persons in the life sciences sector in Japan, together with an invitation for the seminar of 29 January. Free announcements by the Japan Biotech Association (JBA) and by Nikkei Biotech Publications and an advertisement in the Japan Chemical Daily spread the news of the event among potential participants. By 29 January 2002, 150 persons had subscribed for the seminar, of which 120 eventually attended.

The co-operation between VIB and FFIO led to a platform of high quality speakers from the biotech sector in Flanders:
- Prof. Dr. Marc Van Montagu, Professor Emeritus from the University of Ghent (Belgium), who received the Japan Prize from the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan in 1998 for his contribution to the knowledge of transgenic plants.
- Ph. D. Adriaan Hart De Ruyter, President, Msource Medical Development N.V.
- Dr. Paul Appermont, Business Development Executive, Innogenetics N.V.
- Ph. D. Johan Cardoen, Vice-President, CropDesign N.V.
- Ph. D. Peter De Waele, Vice-President, Xcellentis N.V.
- Ph. D. Dirk Pollet, Vice-President, Galapagos Genomics N.V.

H.E. Ambassador Gustaaf Dierckx, Belgian Ambassador in Tokyo, Mr. Jo Bury, Ph. D., Managing Director of VIB, and Mr. Dirk De Ruyver, Business Development Director of FFIO Japan, opened the seminar. The seminar was followed by a reception.

VIB took advantage of its first mission to Japan to make or renew its contacts with several scientific institutes active in the biotech sector in Japan. In doing so, it could count on the support of the representative of the Flemish Government in Tokyo, Mr. David Maenaut. FFIO Japan, in turn, arranged for 14 individual business meetings between the representatives of the biotech companies from Flanders and Japanese businessmen. In close co-operation with the above Flemish companies, FFIO Japan continues to screen potential investors, alliance or business partners among the Japanese participants of the seminar.

Reported by
20 March 2002

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