Innovation Bridge is a series of events to bridge between cities to facilitate collaboration and make things happen. Venture Café Tokyo and Rotterdam collaborate to bridge between two countries and share each other's Life Science & Health ecosystems and forefront of innovation in the area.

The Netherlands is one of the happiest countries in the world, but it is also one of the best in Europe and a world leader in Life Science & Health innovation! The Netherlands is home to more than 3,100 innovative Life Science & Health companies, which work together in public-private partnerships with academia, business and government to create an innovation ecosystem. With a concentration of life science companies within a 200 km radius, including major multinationals such as Janssen, Amgen, Astellas, and GlaxoSmithKline, the Netherlands has one of the highest concentrations of life science industries in the world (Ref: Invest in Holland).

In this event, we share "Frontline of innovation in Life Science & Health" from both sides and discuss "How Japan and Netherlands can collaborate to create a future in which all people can live in good health". We also have a pitch session to showcase our wonderful life science & health startups!

We focus on CONNECTION at the Innovation Bridge by bringing key players along and taking actions to build a connection with them to make things happen. Let’s CONNECT with speakers, startups and investors at the virtual networking space and expand your network to Rotterdam!

This Innovation Bridge program replaces Venture Café Rotterdam's LSH010 Café which is organized on a monthly basis together with our partners: Gemeente Rotterdam, InnovationQuarter, Rotterdam Partners and Erasmus MC. We have all bundled our powers to ensure a great line up for this international event full of connections and opportunities.


12:00-12:45 - Panel Discussion: How Japan and Netherlands can collaborate to foster Life Science & Health Innovation!

12:45-13:00 - Networking with Panelists

13:00 - 14:00 -  Life Science & Health Startups Pitch + Networking


Venture Café Rotterdam

Venture Café Tokyo

  • Dr. Tord Labuda¬†/ Vice President of R&D, Asia-Pacific at¬†LEO Pharma
  • Dr. Olivier Van Till¬†/ Senior Medical Director at¬†Astellas Pharma

Erik Pentinga: Erik is the Programme Manager Japan at Task Force Health Care (TFHC), the public-private platform for the Dutch Life Sciences & Health (LSH) sector with international ambitions. He has been involved in multiple activities to facilitate knowledge exchange and foster partnerships between Japan and The Netherlands since 2018. Erik has a comprehensive understanding of Dutch LSH sector and related expertise and smart solutions provided by industry, knowledge institutes and NGOs. On behalf of the Dutch sector, he has visited multiple countries around the globe, often facilitating Dutch healthcare delegations led by high-level officials.

About Task Force Health Care : Next to working closely with the Dutch government in programmes and activities to foster international partnerships in the field of LSH, TFHC supports Dutch organisations and companies in their international journey with training and consultancy services. Erik holds an MSc in Science & Innovation Management from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Sasja Heijman is Senior Accountmanager Life Sciences & Health for InnovationQuarter, regional partner of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) for the Greater Rotterdam – The Hague region. Sasja has been working at InnovationQuarter for the past four years and has within Life Sciences & Health a specific focus on Medical Technology and Digital Health. She works with organizations like GE Healthcare, Pfizer, Siemens Healthineers and Cerner. Making the right connections between organizations is what she enjoys most.

About InnovationQuarter : Apart from assisting foreign companies with setting up their business, InnovationQuarter also creates consortia between companies and the knowledge institutes in the region. InnovationQuarter also has an investment fund of around 200M to invest in local innovative start-ups and scale-ups to bring their technology faster to the market.

Dr. Tord Labuda is a Life Science executive and R&D leader with 15 years’ experience across therapeutic areas within inflammation, immunology and dermatology. I have extensive knowledge of the full value chain in the pharma industry from early discovery to regulatory approval, launch and beyond. I have been a leader in Discovery biology, Translational Medicine, Global Development and Medical Affairs. I have broad international experience from the US, Scandinavia and the Asia Pacific (including Japan, China and South Korea). I am currently accountable for all R&D activities in the APAC region for LEO Pharma.

About LEO Pharma: LEO Pharma helps people achieve healthy skin. By offering care solutions to patients in more than 130 countries globally, LEO Pharma supports people in managing their skin conditions. Founded in 1908 and owned by the LEO Foundation, the healthcare company has devoted decades of research and development to delivering products and solutions to people with skin conditions. LEO Pharma is headquartered in Denmark and employs around 6,000 people worldwide.

Dr. Olivier Van Till holds MD, PhD, background in surgery/urology (PhD in immunology/surgery). Professional Pharmaceutical industry experience in Drug Development as Medical director in clinical development from preclinical to clinical development (P1-3) stages. Originally from the Netherlands, now based in Japan.

About Astellas Pharma: Global pharmaceutical company with HQ in Tokyo, Japan, marketing and developing drugs in oncology and non-oncology area (e.g., transplantation, urology).

Life Science & Health Startups Pitches

Pitches from Tokyo:

  • Yasuharu Hamanaka / CEO at¬†Lea Bio Corporation
    We will save children around the world by developing an unprecedented new digital MCH handbook using Japan's original MCH handbook to help sick children, their families and doctors who are suffering in medically backward countries.
  • Anna Yamauchi / Founder and CEO at¬†Lumirous Sdn Bhd
    Lumirous is an online platform for fertility coaching. We connect fertility coaches and customers through our platform.
  • Taku Nakahara / CEO at¬†Metagen Therapeutics
    Metagen Therapeutics Inc. is a microbiome based therapeutics startup founded in 2020 in Japan. Our initial focus is to launch a Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) platform for various diseases such as C. difficile infection and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBDs). By leveraging the FMT platform, we also focus on microbiome drug development. At this event, we’d like to connect with microbiome biotech community in Netherlands to exchange thoughts on science, businesses and regulatory frameworks in this emerging field.
  • Yoshimi Wie / CEO at¬†aba Inc.
    We are called aba, the No.1 elderly-care technology company in Japan. We provide a non-tangible, sheet-type smell detector that notifies the care-taker to achieve a smooth caring experience. In the near future, we wish to collect and use the data of excretion for further care-improvement, such as using the data of excretion for medical use, creating a linear system of care and medics. Elderly-care is a huge problem that everyone will be facing suddenly. We wish to be the brain and the solution providers for people that face issues in elderly care, even without the experience.

Pitches from Rotterdam:

  • Varsha Thakoersing / Business Developer at IMcoMET
    IMcoMET is a MedTech start-up that has developed its patented M-Duo Technology – a technology that allows you to continuously extract, sample, and control the composition of the microenvironment with high spatial precision. The M-Duo technology is originally developed for IMcoMET’s main goal, namely treatment of skin cancer patients. But it can also be a game changer for other applications. This is particularly true for diagnostic applications based on extraction of biomarkers from skin interstitial fluid, and R&D activities involving in vitro 3D cell cultures (organoids, tumoroids, organ on a chip), and ex vivo tissue biopsies.
  • Julian Jagtenberg / Founder at Somnox
    Sleep deprivation is a growing problem that impacts millions of people across the world. Current treatments often include pharmaceuticals which can have harmful side-effects and are potentially addictive. At Somnox we are motivated to help you improve your sleep in a more natural way, and believe everyone should be able to experience the superpower of sleep. We developed a Sleep Robot. Our technology is soft, companion-like and easy to use, and therefore helps you to not only fall asleep more naturally, but also help you experience more comfort and rest.
  • Katrien Reynders-Frederix / CEO at Pan Cancer T
    Pan Cancer T is a biotechnology spin-out from Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands dedicated to discovering and developing T cell receptor (TCR) T cell therapies. The company exploits 20 years of pioneering research in the field of adoptive T cell therapies. This foundation serves as a springboard towards breakthrough therapies for solid tumors. Pan Cancer T develops natural affinity TCR T cell therapies against unique and proprietary intracellular targets expressed by multiple solid tumors.
  • Willem Mees van der Bijl / Director IDE Netherlands at IDE Group
    IDE is a group of like minded people and organisations, that love working together to utilise design, engineering and entrepreneurial capabilities. We create meaningful change, improve lives, start and grow new organisations, to build better futures.
  • Motoaki Komiya / Managing Director at Cyberdyne Care¬†Robotics GmbH
    Cyberdyne envisions a future where humans and technology are seamlessly interfaced, feeding off of each other in both cyberspace and physical space to revolutionize the way society functions and improve the lives of its citizens. In medical applications, all of our Medical Cybernic Systems are intended to reconstruct the neural connectivity network (including the connectome of the brain) and improve/regenerate the patient’s brain-neuro-physical function by promoting the improvement/strengthening of synaptic connections between the brain, nerves, and muscles.

Networking with startups, investors, and participants

In between the above scheduled sessions there is time to network and engage (12-2pm CEST). The panel members and pitching startups will be present, but you can surely expect other interesting community members to join, including:

Venture Café Rotterdam¬†
Investors/Corporate/Community/Startup Supporters

Venture Café Tokyo
Investors/Corporate/Community/Startup Supporters


Venture Café Rotterdam is currently on pause. We'll be back soon!