Valuable funding opportunity for SMEs to receive support to enter the Japanese and Korean life science markets

The project finished on 31.12.2019.


European life science SMEs offer innovative and globally competitive technologies, products and services. For most of them, it is a big challenge to set up their business on their own in unknown, often time-consuming and complex markets outside Europe, and to identify the right business partners and contacts.
Funded by EIT Health within the framework of its Accelerator programme “GoGlobal”, BioM developed the training project “Start.Smart.Global” specially for start-ups and SMEs, whose goal it is to enter the Japanese and Korean life-science markets.

Why Japan and Korea? Japan has the world’s 2nd largest healthcare market and ranks amongst Europe’s top 5 pharmaceutical trading partners. And South Korea is nurturing a culture of innovation and attractive regulatory environment to place itself in the top ranking of global health care hubs. Given Europe’s leading position in life sciences with novel technologies, services and products, the Asian markets hold significant opportunities for innovative European SMEs. However, for European health service and product companies to introduce complex and new cutting-edge technologies can be time consuming, tedious and consultation-intensive. Start.Smart.Global will help to speed up this process.


The target participants in the GoGlobal programmes are start-ups and SMEs – companies who already offer a product, started to sell, or who are in the last stage of their certification process. They have the ambition to expand on the two Asian markets within a year. The companies also fit to the EIT Health thematic scope: “Healthy living, Active Ageing, Improved Health care.”

The following 10 European companies were selected and participated in the training programme:

  • Biovista Inc.   Greece
    Biovista is a drug repositioning company with offices in VA, USA and Athens, Greece. Biovista's repositioning programs leverage the company's AI technology platform to identify suitable drugs and reposition them in isolation or in combination with other drugs to therapeutic areas of unmet medical need. By selecting drugs that already satisfy basic toxicity, ADME and related criteria, Biovista is able to deliver significant value at reduced cost and in shorter time frames than is normally the case. Biovista's AI technology can also de-risk drugs by profiling potential adverse events thereby supporting better clinical trial design. The company was recently named as one of the top-20 AI Drug Development companies in a recent article in Forbes.
  • Eukarÿs   France
    The synthetic gene therapy is radically novel type of treatment designed as safe, non-integrative, well tolerated, self-vectorized, produced at moderate cost and usable for most pathology. We initially focus on liver diseases and cancers, with EUK-LPR, our most advanced candidate, having demonstrated its effectiveness in non-regulatory preclinical studies. Eukarÿs also develops high performance systems for the bioproduction of recombinant proteins and viruses, which are available under license agreement. Both applications leverage the performances of the C3P3 technology, the first ever artificial expression system that allows strong autonomous production of eukaryotic mRNA in cells.
  • Ibidi GmbH   Germany
    The ibidi product lines include various μ-Dishes, μ-Slides, and μ-Plates for the cultivation and high-resolution microscopy of cells, and also cell-based assays for investigating angiogenesis, chemotaxis, wound healing, and cells under flow. ibidi also specializes in instruments, such as stage top incubators for live cell imaging under physiological conditions, plus a unique perfusion system for the simulation of blood vessels. To complete the ibidi product family, the company also offers reagents and cell lines for live cell imaging.
  • Mecuris GmbH    Germany   
    Mecuris takes orthopedic technology into the digital age. It teams up with Orthotic & Prosthetic professionals (CPOs) to co-create customised O&P products that meets the highest quality standards, while giving the user the opportunity to express their own personality in the design. By bundling 3D technologies into one intuitive digital workspace, the Mecuris Solution Platform, Mecuris simplifies CPOs’ work and enriches wearers ́ lives. It is home for products like the FirStep®️, NexStep®️, ComfyStep®️, custom orthotic splints and special solutions.
  • NextCell Pharma AB   Sweden
    NextCell Pharma is a cell therapy company developing “off-the-shelf” cell therapy products for autoimmune, inflammatory and degenerative diseases. Our drug candidate ProTrans, is mesenchymal stem cell product derived from umbilical cord tissue with proven safety. NextCell is currently evaluating efficacy in two parallel trials with ProTrans for treatment of patients with type 1-diabetes. NextCell also owns the private stem cell bank under the trade name Cellaviva, which offers services throughout the Nordic countries. The company is a spin-off from Karolinska Institutet with great network in both academia and industry.
  • Oncgnostics GmbH    Germany
    Many cancers are detected at late stage, due to insufficient diagnostics. oncgnostics develops, based on proprietary epigenetic biomarker, highly reliable molecular in vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests for screening, follow-up care and therapeutic decisions in cancer diagnostics. For cervical cancer, a set of six DNA methylation markers was validated using >3500 well-characterized patient samples in several studies. GynTect®, oncgnostics’ first test based on these results, reliably clarifies which women with abnormal Pap smear and/or HPV-infection require invasive diagnostics and treatment.
  • Oncodesign SA    France
    Founded over 20 years ago by Dr.Philippe Genne, Oncodesign is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to precision medicine. With its unique experience acquired by working with more than 600 clients, along with its comprehensive technological platform combining state-of-the-art medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, regulated bioanalysis, medical imaging & AI, Oncodesign is able to predict & identify, molecule's therapeutic usefulness & potential to become an effective drug. Applied to kinase inhibitors, Oncodesign’s Nanocyclix technology enables the targeting of several promising molecules with substantial therapeutic potential, including oncology, within the frame of partnerships.
  • Par´Immune    France
    Par'Immune is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company located both in Lille and Paris, founded in late 2017 by a highly skilled executive team. It was built upon 20 years of academic research & clinical trials (up to phase III) around a parasite-derived protein named P28GST. This protein’s immunomodulatory activity has been confirmed in experimental models of several inflammatory disorders. The company aims to further develop its proprietary innovative first-in-class therapeutics toward aggressive inflammatory auto-immune diseases and it plans to initiate Phase II clinical trials operations early in 2020.
  • Scinus Cell Expension B.V.    The Netherlands
    Scinus Cell Expansion BV, develops and distributes bioreactor technology for stem cell cultivation. Our mission is to make cell therapies accessible for a global patient population by means of developing innovative bioreactor platform technology for the cell therapy industry. The Scinus Cell Expansion system enables clinical scale cell 3D cultivation in a controlled environment and provides a cost effective alternative to 2D cell growth in culture flasks/cell stacks. The system contains a single use bioreactor bag that can be used to cultivate cells to clinically relevant numbers of cells.
  • TherapySelect Dr. Frank Kischkel    Germany
    TherapySelect is a cancer diagnostic and service company that enables patients and physicians to optimize therapy and improve success of treatment. Worldwide we offer the most comprehensive set of diagnostics for planning cancer drug therapy. Diagnostics are our own diagnostic CTR-Test (Cancer Therapy Response-Test) and distributed PCDx (Paradigm Cancer Diagnostics) and Guardant360. We work with living or archived tumor specimens and blood samples. In addition patients get consulting and can use our Disease Management Platform (DiMaForm) in order to manage their disease more efficient.

The training

Start.Smart.Global is a high quality training course that provides a starter kit for executives of European life sciences SMEs, helping them to optimize and accelerate their market entry in Japan and South Korea. The training is sector-specific and targets the challenging Japanese and Korean business environments: regulatories and reimbursement for health products/services, access to agents and distributors with access to the appropriate customer networks, access to funding and financing opportunities, language and cultural complexities, different business conventions, understanding of market needs and competition.

In the first half of 2019, individual business interests and market entry needs were identified. The process was guided and supported by culture trainers and market experts. Participants benefited from various e-learning tools. In addition, relevant webinars and telcos were scheduled user-friendly and demand-focused throughout the year to optimize the project outcome for each SME. Supported by BioM and Medicen, two globally experienced European life science clusters and their extensive networks in Japan and Korea, participants worked on specific tasks to prepare their individual market entries.

An intensive on-site training was carried out on 8-11 July in Paris for Korea and on 9-12 September in Martinsried/Munich for Japan. Focus of the workshops was a 2-day culture training, followed by two days of business training, comprising of peer-learning with companies already successfully operating in the target markets in the relevant sectors. Achieved skills were put into practice during a well-prepared market entry roadshow to Japan and Korea in October. This was followed by post-visit evaluations to optimize the individual market entry strategies.

About EIT Health

EIT Health is an independent Community, constituted in 2008 by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), which aims to boost innovation and speed up entrepreneurship in Europe.

EIT Health´s Accelerator is a business-development programme, and with its GoGlobal projects, participating companies can obtain better knowledge on the local ecosystem, special characteristics of the market, contacts and networking-opportunities and tailor-made training, which ease and accelerate the market entry into the target country. Different GoGlobal projects target different non-European markets: Japan, South Korea, US, China (Shenzhen and Hong Kong), Brazil, Israel and Canada

Contact information

Stephanie Wehnelt, BioM (Project Lead),  
Olivier Fontaine, Medicen Paris Region (Project Partner),