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Japanese life science companies seek partnering opportunities as BIO International Convention goes Digital for 2020

by | May 26, 2020

The BIO International Convention (this year “BIO Digital 2020”) is an annual convention held in the US that brings together life science companies of all sizes to network, discuss, and learn from expert-led educational seminars. It has consistently been the world’s largest biotech convention, with over 16,000 attendees, 5000 companies, and 1,800 sponsors each year. Companies participate from all over the globe, and approximately one third of attendees are internationally-based. Yokohama City joined the 2019 BIO International Convention that was held in the Philadelphia Convention center, and there were a number of Yokohama-based companies that also participated last year.

Of course, those numbers are based on the BIO Convention’s usual operations, and this year those operations have, by necessity, changed. The convention was originally scheduled to be held on June 8-12 in San Diego, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic large gatherings, including conventions, have been cancelled in California. In response, the BIO Organization promptly pivoted planning for the 2020 BIO International Convention into planning for a new kind of international convention—a digital one.

Rebranded as BIO Digital 2020, this year’s convention is one of many attempts this year to convert the traditional conference experience into the current era of remote work and social distancing. But BIO already has a head start in this respect, through the One-on-One Partnering System that has been a mainstay of BIO International Conventions in the past. Through One-on-One partnering, companies could connect with and search for potential partners digitally, and use the integrated scheduling system to set up meetings ahead of time that could then be conducted in person during the convention. It was designed to save busy convention-goers and C-level executives time by streamlining their networking, and access to the system used to be among the highest tier of convention access options. But now the One-on-One partnering system is forming the linchpin of the convention’s digitization.

During BIO Digital 2020, which will still take place from June 8-12, attendees will be able to access some similar programming to BIO’s usual offerings, including “Online Education” content with a mix of interactive and on-demand expert-level educational seminars on key industry topics, and “Company Presentations” which will—in lieu of a physical exhibition floor—allow companies to present their latest innovations and goals to other attendees. But now, the One-on-One Partnering system is available to all registered attendees of BIO Digital 2020 and as of April has been allowing companies to start scheduling meetings to be conducted virtually during the week that the convention will officially take place. Universal access to the partnering system, as well as its new single, mid-level admission cost, will allow the many companies still interested in participating to still connect with their peers and potential partners through their preferred conferencing applications.

While registration for BIO Digital is still open, it seems that there has already been a strong showing of domestic and foreign interest. The digital format lends itself to attracting international interest, especially from companies that now no longer have to travel to the US to participate. As of BIO’s data released on May 7th, around 40% of registered attendees are internationally-based. Japan leads the top trending international delegations according to these metrics, with South Korea and the UK coming in second and third respectively.

Just as last year we were excited to see companies based out of Yokohama, Japan’s superb life science ecosystem participating in BIO International, this year there are even more Yokohama-based companies that will be participating in BIO Digital 2020. Currently the registered companies from Yokohama are as follows:

Yokohama-based companies participating in BIO Digital 2020:


  • CM Plus Corporation
    Business Matching for Life Science, Consulting services for manufacturing compliance, And more


  • GlycoTechnica Ltd.
    Development, manufacture, and sales of GlycoStationTM, lectin microarray, etc. for glycan analysis,  And more


  • MabGenesis Inc.
    Providing first-in-class and best-in-class therapeutic monoclonal antibodies both in human and animal health



Alongside these companies, we at the City of Yokohama Rep. to the Americas office are participating in BIO Digital as well, focusing our efforts on helping US life science companies expand into Japan.

With cutting-edge R&D infrastructure, a city-wide life-science collaboration/innovation network, reasonable rental costs for lab and office space, and other incentives, Yokohama has attracted many domestic and international biotech and pharmaceutical companies that could make ideal partners for foreign companies. Yokohama is also home to a specialized collaboration platform for biotech and life science industries called Life Innovation Platform (LIP) Yokohama.

We’ve also recorded our own Company Presentation which will be available on demand during BIO Digital, through which we’ve explained more about Yokohama’s Life Science industry and our services. We’ve made that presentation viewable to those of our readers not participating in BIO Digital as well. You can view it below.

If you’re interested in meeting with us during BIO Digital 2020 or outside of the convention, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.


Related Links: 

Bio Digital Website

Yokohama’s Life Science Industry / LIP Yokohama

Life Science – Industry Deep Dive

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