This cohort included eight Masters’ students and one post-doctorate student from Osaka University. Of the nine presentations, three exciting discoveries were selected for the 2-week Commercialization Program – noise simulator, ultraviolet lens and disease algorithm.
One team, led by Masataka Kikuchi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Genome Informatics, had an algorithm to detect diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, using messenger RNA, instead of DNA. Messenger RNA is more effective than DNA because it recognizes both inherited and lifestyle diseases. He believes it is valuable to learn about the business side of his research, including patents, business models and who is the customer in order to transfer research to address social needs.
Dr. Kikuchi said that he came to San Diego thinking that middle aged people were his customers, but the von Liebig Program taught him that pharmaceutical companies are his actual customers and that was a big revelation. Dr. Kikuchi plans to use what he learned from the program in his consulting work in Japan.
“The product didn’t change, but the business strategy changed dramatically,” Dr. Kikuchi shared.
Professor Masayuki Abe, Director of Engineering, and Associate Professor Yuki Nagano, Office for University-Industry Collaboration, accompanied the students to UC San Diego.
Professor Abe said, “We used to think that businesses can only be started by sophisticated people like Steve Jobs, but anyone can learn to start a business with practice. If you are trained, you can do anything you want to do.” Professor Abe also said that the von Liebig program is well-considered, especially guest speakers and joint sessions with American students.
“Students especially like the Japanese guest speakers because going to the U.S. is very risky,” Professor Abe said. “The students want to understand what is in the speaker’s background that drew them to the United States.”
Earlier in 2015, the first cohort from Osaka University including students and faculty visited UC San Diego to learn more about the San Diego Innovation Ecosystem. They were eager to collaborate on a program for Japanese students to learn how to commercialize new ideas in science and technology. The program was designed by Dr. Rosibel Ochoa, Executive Director, von Liebig Center and Mr. Nathan Owens, Director, Global Connect, and the course content is delivered by business experts. During the two weeks, students were taught different modules such as marketing, finance and patents. Tarek Fahmi, Principal of Ascenda Law Group, delivered the module on patents, as he has extensive knowledge of patent protection in both US and Japan. Marketing and Financial content was presented by Jonathan Masters, Technology and Business Adviser at the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center.
For more information about the Osaka group or other international programs, contact Dr. Lori Deaton, Project Manager, von Liebig Center, firstname.lastname@example.org