The network of the bioindustry of Hokkaido, and cooperation and market expansion with partners.

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What is the Hokkaido Biotechnology Industrial Cluster Forum?

The Hokkaido Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry launched the “Hokkaido Super Cluster Promotion Project” in April 2001, aimed at promoting the formation of an information industry cluster and bio-industry cluster in Hokkaido, and has been making active efforts for realization. In response to these efforts, the Hokkaido Biotechnology Industrial Cluster Forum was established in July 2002, and full-scale activities for formation and development of clusters started.
For fiscal 2011, the bureau will formulate the “Hokkaido Bio-Innovation Strategy” as a ten-year strategy for growth, focusing on the key phrase “health and new foods, the endowments of biotechnology.” The bureau will encourage innovations in food, agriculture and health, and it will help to add value to related industries by using Hokkaido's advantages of biotechnology for food resources and seeds in the medical care and pharmaceutical sector.
To foster and develop bio-industry in Hokkaido, the forum promotes the formation of a bio-company network in Hokkaido and cooperates with a group of businesses outside the prefecture that are potential business partners for local bio-businesses. The group is called the “partners outside Hokkaido” and includes trading firms, venture companies, financial institutions, and manufacturers. The forum is striving to expand the market for bio-products of Hokkaido by actively promoting national bio-business interchanges (business matching).
In addition, the forum aims to seek further results by linking with multilayered networks, including networks of universities and research institutes, independent activities by businesses etc., and regional/sectoral organizations.
These activities have already produced some results, such as advanced accumulation of businesses and improved name recognition in Hokkaido,s bio-industry, which shows sustainable growth by increasing sales and number of employees.

Japan,s bio-industry cluster promoting areas and the number of bio-venture businesses

Characteristics of Hokkaido Bio-industrial Cluster

Current State and Issues

The number of companies in the Hokkaido Bio-industrial Cluster continues to grow each year. The breakdown by sector is as follows: Functional foods and cosmetics account for the largest percentage (47%), followed by research support (14%), medical care and medical drug (14%) and agricultural biotechnology (9%).
Also, total prospective sales and the number of employees in 2011 are approximately 50.8 billion yen (a 0.0% year-on-year increase) and 1,579 people (a 1.5% year-on-year increase), respectively and both have been strongly growing.
The increase is attributed to some factors including expanding new participating companies, drastic sales growth of biotechnology companies in the medical care and pharmaceutical sector and steady sales growth of biotechnology companies in the functional food and cosmetics sector.

Percentage distribution by sector
(Hokkaido Bio Report 2012)

Functional food/
Development of functional foods, cosmetics and raw materials, etc.
utilizing agricultural and fishery resources and microorganism, etc.
Medical care/
Medical drug
Development of biomedicine, pharmaceutical or medical material and research development of medical diagnosis technology, etc
Research Support Development of reagents and experimental animals for research, contract test for safety and pharmacological effect, research development and analysis service etc. of gene and protein, etc.
Development of seed and seedling, plant growth and activation agent, development of agriculture, livestock husbandry and green material utilizing microorganisms, etc.
Others Development of environmental purification and biomass equipment utilizing microorganisms, development of bio-related research devices and or equipment, Bioinformatics, etc.

Changes in total sales and the number of employees
(Hokkaido Bio Report 2012)

Total sales Number of employees

Number of university-launched ventures
(Hokkaido Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry)

Biotechnology Other

Changes in research and development investment
(Hokkaido Bio Report 2012)

Research and development investment

The highly acclaimed Hokkaido Biotechnology Industrial Cluster Forum

In February 2011, the European Commission Directorate-General for Research & Innovation surveyed 16 special bioclusters around the world to find and identify success factors and to plan a new outcome index, which are necessary to boost the industrial competitiveness of Europe.
The Hokkaido Biotechnology Industrial Cluster Forum was surveyed and rated as "a cluster in the mature phase" for the following reasons: "the implementation of advanced research," "the functioning of an enterprise culture" and "full support for R&D."
The Hokkaido Biotechnology Industrial Cluster aims for further advancement by raising its international profile and increasing its efforts to continually develop a network of industry-academia-government, which was shown by the survey results.