New laboratory to boost Japanese biotech prospects:
This article was originally published in Clinica
Japan is building a developmental biology laboratory which will focus on regenerative medical technologies such as cloning and embryonic stem cell research. The RIKEN centre for developmental biology will be based in the city of Kobe and will receive a budget of $45 million. Its funding, however, is only guaranteed for three years, after which the Japanese government will evaluate its progress in order to determine how much additional funding it requires. The laboratory is also linked to a nearby hospital which is capable of carrying out clinical trials and has a mechanism to set up spin-off companies. It was founded as part of Japan's Million Programme, which allotted $900 million of funding for scientific initiatives. Japan is hoping the centre will propel its biotech capabilities ahead of countries such as the USA which are still struggling with ethical debate on the subject.