Tuesday, December 1, 2015

"Handbook of Bioentrepreneurship" - How Kirin founded La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology

This book named "Handbook of Bioentrepreneurship" was available so I decided to read it. Now, I am a research scientist who wants to learn the structures that allows initiation of biotech ventures. 

I read few biotech-related books and absolute majority of them have one major issue that completely makes the book worthless: they are just filled with generic nonsense numbers and theoretical discussions no one needs. 

This book was not different in this regard. It had 12 chapters, I believe, and only one chapter was really engaging to read and you know why? Because it had analysis of real events that happened  to a company in Japan when it decided to enter biotech field.

Actually it was really fascinating story. In late 70's, an Japanese brewery company, called Kirin, decided to diversify their product line by entering into biotech industry. This chapter in book described how mid-level Kirin managers showed entrepreneurial alertness that allowed Kirin, in collaboration with Amgen, to develop FDA-approved recombinant erythropoietin, one of the first biotech drug. 

Interestingly, this collaboration with Amgen was so successful that Kirin later founded wellknown La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology in San Diego to develop treatments and cures for immune system disorders. This is not well publicized story because even La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology website does not mention it in their "history" page. Only by noting that Dr. Makoto Nonaka, the Institute's founding President, and Dr. Kimishige Ishizaka, the Institute's first Scientific Director were of Japanese origin  one could make connection between this premier American scientific institution and Japanese brewing company Kirin.

posted by David Usharauli

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