Biotech in Japan

Roadblocks to tech transfer

Since pharmaceutical companies in Japan have not invested in cutting-edge R&D, the nation's universities are its greatest hope for technological advancement in biotech. But for legal and cultural reasons, technology transfer to the commercial sector has been stifled.

Under Japan's system, the professors - not the universities - have control over the intellectual property created by their inventions. While this might seem to make the transfer of i.p. easier, much tech transfer in Japan occurs only informally, and, because inventors lack the knowledge and time to make lucrative licensing deals, the incentives to transfer and develop technology are low.