Portraits of Japanese start-ups
Cyclodextrin based drug development and health food
Cyding was born in April 2016. This pre-seed start-up, originated from Kumamoto University (Kyushu), is building off studies on cyclodextrin to enhance the solubility and bioavailability of hydrophobic compounds. The company develops drugs and drug delivery carriers for oncology and gene therapy, and wishes to extend its knowhow to health food (e.g. cholesterol-free food). The first products are planned for release at the end of March 2018.
A plastic that returns to the Earth
Bioworks, launched in October 2015, is a spinoff from the University of Osaka. It develops and markets a plant additive that, combined with polylactic acid derived from biomass, produces a 100% vegetal bioplastic with mechanical properties similar to that of polypropylene. Fully biodegradable, non-toxic, it is resistant up to 130°C. With its 4 patents, the company envisions applications in microwavable food packaging and disposable tableware, in partnership with ANA airline, but also plastic bottles, or textile fiber in collaboration with Patagonia and Uniqlo. Bioworks seeks to expand internationally, especially in France.
Cultured meat on the cheap
Integriculture is a biohackers start-up that aims at a sustainable way of producing meat. The 6 members and around 20 volunteers all over Japan involved in the Shojinmeat project are working towards the development of a low cost cellular agriculture via DIY research, switching fetal bovine serum for yeast extract and co-cultivating liver and thyroid cells with their myoblasts to make up for the hormone needs. Part of this open source project is funded by an art division, which produces scientific visual contents.