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Japan & India Strengthen MedTech Collaboration through Innovative Startup Partnerships

Written by : Jayati Dubey

June 13, 2024

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The 'Japan-India Innovation Pitch' is the first of its kind to be held in India, following the success of similar cross-pitch events in other countries.

In a bid to revolutionize the medical device industry, Japan and India are working together to foster collaboration between innovative startups from both countries.

This initiative aims to spur significant advancements and deliver mutually beneficial outcomes in patient care.

The 'Japan-India Innovation Pitch' event is set to take place in Bengaluru on August 5, 2024, and is spearheaded by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in collaboration with Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (METI).

JETRO Bengaluru announced the event, inviting startups to submit their proposals before the June 23 deadline. The finalists will be announced by mid-July.

The event, supported by the Consulate General of Japan in Bengaluru and Startup Karnataka, marks a significant step in encouraging open innovation through collaborations between startups and established corporations from both countries.

The 'Japan-India Innovation Pitch' is the first of its kind to be held in India, following the success of similar cross-pitch events in other countries.

It aims to create a platform for start-ups to showcase their innovative solutions and explore potential partnerships with major corporations from Japan and India.

Several notable organizations are part of this initiative, including Nasscom, t-hub, Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Foundation, TiE Bangalore, Bangalore Bioinnovation Centre, Beenext, Beyond Next Ventures, Blume, Genesia Ventures, Global Brain, Grayscale Ventures, Micelio, UTEC, and 3one4Capital.

These entities will play a pivotal role in driving the success of the event and fostering a collaborative environment.

Opportunities for Startups

Japanese and Indian corporations, referred to as 'Challenge Owners,' will present their industry challenges to startups from both countries. The selected startups will then pitch their solutions during the final pitch day event.

This opportunity allows startups to receive valuable feedback from established companies and explore potential partnerships that could lead to future collaborations.

Yuna Natsumi, senior director of the Japan-India Startup Hub at JETRO Bengaluru, emphasized the importance of this collaboration.

"While Indian big corporations and global companies are open to collaborating with start-ups, Japanese companies tend to be more conservative, especially in healthcare and medical devices. This program promotes cross-border collaboration and aims to materialize partnerships that address healthcare challenges," she said.

Reasoning Behind India Partnership

Natsumi highlighted the advantages of targeting India for this initiative. Japan's strict medical regulations and slow approval processes for new drugs, treatments, and medical devices contrast sharply with India's more flexible and faster approval systems.

Furthermore, Japan's healthcare system lags behind, particularly in terms of digitization, with even COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued on paper.

In contrast, India boasts a large, digitized medical data ecosystem and is capable of rapid approvals. This, combined with its vast population, makes it an attractive market for testing and developing medical technologies.

Natsumi pointed out that collaborating with India could help Japan more effectively address its own healthcare and social challenges. "Developing business in India and then re-importing these innovations to Japan could be a great strategy to resolve our medical and social issues," she said.

Industry experts agree that Japan and India have vibrant start-up ecosystems with unique strengths.

The two nations' collaboration can bring diverse perspectives and expertise, leading to exchanging ideas, technology transfer, and joint ventures.

Such partnerships are expected to drive economic growth and foster innovation in the medtech sector.


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