Insight & Analysis

Press Release: Japan’s life sciences risks falling behind global rivals EIU

Published: Sep 2020

28th September 2020 – Medical innovation in the life sciences requires a holistic policy and market access environment that supports everything from basic science to product research and development (R&D) and, ultimately, commercialization. Though North America and Europe have historically led innovation in life sciences, Japan has been a leading contributor from Asia for decades. However, emerging life science sectors in South Korea, and more recently China, are quickly catching up after investing heavily in infrastructure, human capital, and R&D, as well as enacting national policies to further bolster their life sciences ecosystems.

Newspaper press release

This analysis by The Economist Intelligence Unit explores the enabling factors creating a supportive environment for innovation in the life sciences sector in Japan, benchmarked against three other countries: the US, South Korea, and China.

Overall, while Japan is still producing life science innovation at a high level, it appears to be stagnating while the US remains ahead, and regional competitors are either catching up to or surpassing Japan.

Our research identified several opportunities for Japan to build on early progress in fostering an innovative life sciences ecosystem and remain competitive on the global stage. Priority areas that should be addressed include:

  • Maintaining and expanding a strong workforce.
  • Investing in R&D and incentivising business enterprise.
  • Preserving strong intellectual property (IP) protection while enhancing enforcement and transparency.
  • Increasing encouragement of technology transfer and commercialisation.
  • Ensuring health policies are consistent with those promoting new products.

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