Japan’s and Switzerland’s Pharma-Clusters meet at Drug Development Symposium

Symposium on Drug Development between Japan’s and Switzerland’s Pharma-Clusters 

While Basel is Europe’s — if not the world’s! — pharmaceutical headquarter, the same can be said about Toyama Prefecture in Asia. Basel’s history related to pharmacy can be traced back to the middle ages; Toyama’s industry origined in the Edo period, in the mid 1600s.


Toyama’s oldest pharmacy

Both regions’ pharmaceutical industry therefore have a long history and both are based on innovation and also on the collaboration with their respective universities.

It is therefore obvious that these two highly innovative regions collaborate, both on the industry as well as the academia levels.

On Tuesday, August 12, the “3rd Toyama-Basel Joint Symposium on Pharmaceutical Research and Drug Development” was held in Toyama. The invited delegation from Basel was lead by Prof. Dr. Jörg Huwyler from the the University of Basel. He was accompanied by Prof. Dr. Antonius G. Rolink of the University of Basel,  Dr. Eric J. M. Meier, Novartis Pharma Ltd., as well as Prof. Huwyler’s final-year PhD-student Mrs. Helene Kettiger.

More than 300 participants from Academia and Industry

The symposium was opened by Toyama Prefecture’s Governor Mr. Takakazu Ishii. Other high-level guests included the president of Toyama University, Prof. Dr. Shunro Endo, andthe president of the Pharmaceutical Association of Toyama Prefecture. As a representative of the Swiss government, Dr. Matthias Frey, Head of the Science and Technology Office TokyToyama-Basel Symposiumo of the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan gave a short welcome speech, highlighting the 150-year anniversary of diplomatic relations of the two countries and the many similarities between the two regions.
Prof. Huwyler opened the symposium with his keynote speech after which an enthusiastic participant stood up and exclaimed: “Your presentation is very important for our region, thank you very much!”

Many of the following Japanese presenters had strong contacts with Switzerland either through research exchanges or countless business trips to Basel. The nearly 350 participants from academia as well as industry enjoyed the broad program of the symposium and the opportunities for networking.

Cooperation agreement since 2007

The joint symposium is based on Toyama’s cooperation agreement with Basel to deepen their mutual relationship in the field of life sciences, signed in October 2007, when a high-level delegation from Toyama prefecture visited Basel. Researcher and student exchanges were further enhanced with a faculty-level exchange agreement signed last year between the universities of Basel and Toyama.

Now that mutual trust and friendship have been established, the road is paved to start joint research and development projects between academia and industry in Basel and Toyama.

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