Making Connections and Executing in the Life Sciences


Japan remains an important market for European Life Science companies.     


Emperor Akihito and Chancellor Merkel on 09 March 2015

Accessing it, though, remains difficult for a number of reasons: language and different ways of doing business are most relevant. In most cases, there have been first contacts into Japan via trade and government associations or simply meetings on international shows. 

In general, none of the parties in Japan is seriously committed and approaches your interests on an opportunistic basis. Your sales to Japan do not reflect the market’s potential for your technology.

Life Science Consult has over the years developed good relationships with a number of local contacts  happy to assist in developing potential customer contacts. These contacts have been helpful in the past to assist Life Science companies to get a "foot in the door", i.e. being able to generate first business with Japanese companies leading the field in drug and diagnostics discovery.

To what extent the business develops beyond first contacts and orders is a question of local competition and patience. 

Unlike in European markets or the USA, Japanese ask quite detailed questions before entering into a supply relationship. What counts are patent rights applicable in Japan, pricing, logistics, etc.. At the same time, the leading companies are lined up along the train between Tokyo and Osaka thus making it possible to visit 2-3 potential companies a day.

Contact us and we assist with your expansion into Japan.


Recent Case Example:

A European Life Science company has successfully won Big Pharma in Europe and the USA as customers. Continued profitable growth requires entry into Japan, the world's 3rd largest Life Science market.

Life Science Consult created 'First Level Communication' literature and presentations. It leveraged its network of local contacts in Japan to raise interest in the company's technology platform.

The company's key scientist then visited Japan and presented the technology to potential users at 12 locations. A third of these presentations led to firm orders within 4 months.

Specific Approach – 6 Steps:



  • The relationship between its Europe based clients and Life Science Consult in Tokyo is not to remain just opportunistic as it is with most Japanese distributors.
  • Therefore, Life Science Consult is charging both a retainer and a success based fee of in total € 15.900 for the series of appointments. 
  • Our clients decide themselves on the success based fee once they have met the audiences and felt they were mostly ‘picked’ right. ‘Mostly’ shall mean 2/3 rd of the listeners.
  • Separately from the road show, our Clients are free in choosing whether to enter into a distribution agreement directly with the Tokyo office. Local follow-ups then would be paid for with commissions.

Case Study

Life Science Consult has been offering such service since 2011 with about 1-2 clients p.a.. One company is offering a rather complex service to target research. Management responded diligently to the more than 50 questions coming from about 10 potential clients. 8 months later, the Account Manager followed up the 1 st visit with a party different set of contacts.

Two years later, Japan turned into its 2 nd biggest market outside Germany contributing a quarter of its total business with several € 100 K of business growing strongly. Clients remain loyal and turn into repeat customers.