Date：22 July (Thursday)
Time: 14:00 – 15:30 (GMT+8)
Chief Executive Officer, LUCA Science
Venture Partner, Axil Capital Partners
Dr. Rick C. Tsai is the Chief Executive Officer of LUCA Science and Venture Partner for Axil Capital Partners in Tokyo, Japan. Before joining LUCA Science, he served as Executive Officer and head of Medical Affairs department for MSD K.K., a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc. During his tenure at MSD, he has also led the Regulatory Affairs and Clinical Development team in multiple therapeutic areas in Japan. In addition to MSD, Rick has worked as a Medical Director for Allergan in Japan China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Prior to joining pharmaceutical industry Rick was an Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon and research scientist at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University.
Rick holds a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree from Harvard University and MD (Doctor of Medicine) from Columbia University.
It is every baseball player’s dream to play in the major league, for the technology startup that stage is NASDAQ. Although a few top Japanese baseball players have made it to the major league, there has not been a single Japanese biotech startup that has made it to the NASDAQ market. Japan has long been a global source of Nobel Prize-worthy biology discoveries, consistently ranked among the top countries as the origin of blockbuster drugs from the first statin to recent Anti-PD1 successes. Japan also has a self-sustained system with domestic venture capitalists, pharmaceutical companies, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. However, Japanese biotech growth has been staggered in the last decade compared to the US, mainly due to the lack of platforms where attractive start-ups are emerging and supported by the ecosystem. In contrast, early-stage biotech investments in the US have grown larger, enabling startups to focus on research and development and deliver long-term goals. The scale of public funding on the NASDAQ market for biotech is also a few orders of magnitude higher than any Asian market. This model of access to top science and sufficient capital combined with a rewarding incentive system attracted talents with entrepreneurial spirits to create a successful ecosystem. From the perspective of a Japanese biotech CEO, in contrast to this upward spiraling cycle, there are many challenges here in Japan. To initiate a positive cycle, we will need to show a few successes of Japanese biotech to be recognized on a global stage. The policymakers, academia, pharmaceutical companies, and investors need to create a supportive environment for innovation where scientific breakthroughs and lifesaving drugs can be developed from Japan to the world.