About GAP NEXT
This platform aims to establish a foundation for the creation of world-class deep tech startups by providing a one-stop service from discovering projects to supporting their commercialization, through the connected development of technology commercialization and human resource development. GAP NEXT has been selected as a Program of Start-up incubation from COre REsearch (SCORE: University Promotion Type)
Platform: GAP NEXT
President of Kyushu University, Director-General, Academic Research and Industrial Collaboration Management Office of Kyushu University (AiRIMaQ)
Vice President of Kyushu University, Professor and Vice-Director-General, AiRIMaQ
Cooperating Institution 1: Kyushu Sangyo University
Director, Open Innovation Center, Kyushu Sangyo University
Associate Professor, Department of Business and Marketing, Faculty of Commerce, Kyushu Sangyo University
Cooperating Institution 2: Kurume University
President, Kurume University
Vice President, Kurume University
Director, Innovation Strategy Center
Dean and Professor, Department of Pathology, Kurume University School of Medicine
Cooperating Institution 3: Japan University of Economics
President, Japan University of Economics
Deputy Director, International Incubation Center, Japan University of Economics
Associate Professor, Department of Management, Japan University of Economics
Cooperating Institution 4: Fukuoka Institute of Technology
President, Fukuoka Institute of Technology
Director, Comprehensive Research Organization, Fukuoka Institute of Technology
Cooperating Institution 5: Fukuoka University
President, Fukuoka University
Professor, Central Research Institute, Fukuoka University
①Strengthening and deepening the driving force for innovation by expanding support for pre-launch deep tech startups originated from the university
②Raising the level of regional business ecosystems by fostering and spreading the startup movement throughout the Fukuoka region
・Utilizing the Fukuoka Future Creation Platform, in which 15 universities located in the Fukuoka metropolitan area participate, we will implement an educational program recognizant of fostering entrepreneurship and social implementation that can be taken together by students in the region. We aim to create a program that can be implemented both offline and online at one location such as Fukuoka Growth Next (FGN). In addition, we will expand the circle of potential entrepreneurs in the region by inviting other universities, technical colleges and other educational institutions in the region.
・By providing a place where graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and young researchers can gather through strengthening ties with the startup ecosystem hub cities, and by connecting with the GAP Fund NEXT, the project will be elevated into a comprehensive initiative that encompasses up to the final exit of startup creation.
・The envisioned program will include collaboration with the 15 overseas centers that Fukuoka City has concluded agreements with, as well as with overseas universities and accelerator centers with which Kyushu University and other participating universities have collaboration agreements. In addition, as a foothold for creating a framework for the future, we will use the framework of the Western Five University Collaboration formed by Kyushu University, Seinan Gakuin University, Nakamura Gakuen University, Fukuoka University, and Fukuoka Dental College, all of which are located in the western region of Fukuoka, to develop a system that allows any university to recognize credits through a credit transfer system.
By fostering the startup movement in universities, expanding the number of student entrepreneurs, and encouraging student participation in the startup ecosystem, we aim to create deep tech and university-originated startups originated from the university, which will be widely fostered and spread throughout the Fukuoka region, thus raising the level of regional business ecosystems.
Main initiative 1: Fukuoka School of Entrepreneurship (FSE）
・Building a platform for developing entrepreneurial human resources
・Sharing and providing resources for diverse entrepreneurship education with reference to overseas university case studies
・A pre-CxO will be assigned to each commercialization project. In addition to post-doctoral fellows and graduate students in the university, we aim to secure pre-CxOs from the private sector through the network of hub cities (Kyushu Economic Federation, Fukuoka Regional Strategy Promotion Council, etc.) and also from “UIJ-turn” personnel in and around Fukuoka.
・Assigning entrepreneurial human resources to GAP projects to verify potential for technology commercialization
・Developing entrepreneurial human resources through the deep tech commercialization process
・By having pre-CxOs participate in entrepreneurial education conducted within the platform, we aim to develop human resources through systematic education in addition to practical training.
・Marketing of technology transfer to existing companies for projects that did not result in startups.
・A commercialization support personnel is assigned to each project (cross-appointment, secondary employment or internship) to support the project and the pre-CxO. Items to be covered in the commercialization support include pre-CxO training through on-the-job training, drawing up business plans and capital policies, marketing, and drawing up patent strategies.
・The progress of the program will be shared among the hub cities of the startup ecosystem, and an exit strategy for after the completion of the project will be formulated. If more POC is needed, we will offer support for JST START project adoption. In addition, projects that do not lead to a start-up will be transitioned without interruption to licensing activities for existing companies.
Implementation of GAP NEXT 2021
This program is designed to provide funding for the verification of concepts and proposals from research results with high potential for practical application. Prototypes will be produced during the grant period of around seven months and evaluated by potential customers. Then we will verify the possibility of commercialization (Invitation for applications has closed.). The grant period is from July 2021 to January 2022, with a Demo Day scheduled for March 2022.
SCORE (Gateway City Environment Improvement Type): List of R&D Project (GAP NEXT)
Development of diagnostic agents for pancreatic cancer using pancreatic juice exosomal microRNAs
Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University
The number of new pancreatic cancer patients in Japan has been increasing to about 41,000 cases per year. It is extremely difficult to diagnose pancreatic cancer in its early stage; most cases are unresectable at the time of detection, resulting in a 5-year survival rate of only 9%. Therefore, the development of an early diagnostic method is an urgent issue.
Exosomes are vesicles surrounded by a lipid bilayer membrane and secreted by cells to the extracellular space. They contain proteins and nucleic acids (mRNA, DNA, microRNA (miR)) and are used for intercellular communication. Therefore, by analyzing exosome-derived miRs secreted by pancreatic cancer cells, biochemical and genetic information specific to pancreatic cancer cells can be obtained. In this study, we will develop a diagnostic agent to detect pancreatic cancer-specific miRs identified from pancreatic juice exosomes of pancreatic cancer patients, in pancreatic juice and blood samples, to establish an early diagnostic method for pancreatic cancer.
Remote health checkup and telemedicine business through the Portable Health Clinic in Bangladesh
Graduate School of Information Science and Electrical Engineering, Kyushu University
We will conduct a health checkup business in Bangladesh. One of the societal issues in developing countries such as Bangladesh is the lack of awareness towards preventive medicine (health checkups, etc.). We will introduce the Portable Health Clinic (PHC) system to conduct remote health checkups and telemedicine in the local area, to improve the preventive medical environment for the people and to disseminate the awareness of health.
This project envisions two service delivery channels: mass health checkups in urban areas and pharmacies in rural areas. In urban areas, we will contract with corporations such as companies and universities to provide health checkups for corporate offices, factory workers, and university students. In rural areas, health checkup services will be provided by franchised pharmacies. During the term of this project, we will focus on health checkups in urban areas where profitability is higher than in rural areas. As a “social business,” we aim to achieve an environment where the 160 million population of Bangladesh can receive a medical checkup at least a year.
Development of innovative crop production technology using nanomaterials for plant growth
Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyushu University
1. R&D project objectives:
(1) Develop fertilizers and pesticides that contain nanoized or nanoparticle-coated fertilizer ingredients, essential elements, amino acids, peptides, and all other substances that are effective for plants.
(2) Establish efficient delivery technology to plants.
2. Business model: The following two models are under consideration:
(1) Licensing out and consigning manufacturing and sales to each fertilizer and agrochemical company.
(2) Self-manufacturing (or manufacturing through OEM) fertilizers and pesticides and selling them ourselves (based on the assumption that we secure customers and efficient sales channels for agricultural products using the materials in advance).
Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD) support manipulator
Specially-Appointed Associate Professor
Center for Advanced Medical Innovation Kyushu University
In this project we aim for the social implementation of an advanced medical device developed by the applicant. During the term of the project, we will improve its performance and evaluate its business feasibility. The developed medical device is a thin manipulator used for a surgery using a flexible endoscope (gastroscope) (i.e. endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) ). Devices with only one inflexible electrocautery have been used in ESD, but this device has an electrocautery and a grasping forceps that can be remotely operated by wire drive up, down, left, right, back and forth, while the 2.5 mm diameter of the conventional electrocautery is kept. By using this device, it is possible to realize the common surgical environment of picking up with one hand and cutting with the other with a flexible endoscope.
Diagnostic technology by isolating and recovering liquid biopsies from cancer patients
Institute for Materials Chemistry and Engineering, Kyushu University
In recent years, liquid biopsies of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have drawn much attention as an alternative to solid biopsies, which are highly invasive, for the development of cancer diagnosis technology. In this project, we will design a unique synthetic polymer that has antithrombogenic properties that prevent adhesion of blood cells and has adhesive properties to CTCs. By doing so, we will develop a technology which makes it possible to isolate and recover CTCs from human whole blood in a label-free manner with high purity and efficiency. We will prepare protocols for whole blood pretreatment, culture, and washing conditions, and aim to commercialize the technology as a CTC isolation and recovery kit and research reagent.
Carbon surface modification by resin coating method
Department of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyushu University
In a carbon-neutral society, elemental technologies are needed to enable the spread of clean energy and to reduce the weight and increase the service life of materials. To achieve these, It is essential to enhance the functionality of carbon materials, which are the fundamental materials. Until now, low-crystalline carbon materials and their composites have been used due to its ease for use, but composites of high-crystalline carbon are promising for higher functionality. The “resin coating method” by the principal investigator is the only method to make composite materials from high-crystalline carbon. Therefore, we will use the method to materialize and develop various carbons including high-crystalline carbon. In particular, we will supply resin-coated carbon targeting fuel cell catalysts, carbon fiber reinforced plastics and tires.
Creating new light value through “light upgrading”
Division of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyushu University
We regard the wavelength conversion of low-energy, long-wavelength light into high-energy, short-wavelength light as “light upgrading,” and propose to upgrade the light around us, such as sunlight and indoor light, and use it effectively. In our recent research, we have succeeded in developing materials with which we can conduct such “light upgrading” by sunlight and indoor LEDs, and in this project we will implement further development for practical applications. For example, due to COVID-19 the demand and awareness of antiviral and antimicrobial materials. We will develop film materials that can remove viruses and bacteria indoors and in the car using the upgraded light.
Feasibility verification of concentrated bio-liquid fertilizer: Sales of plants to livestock producers and sales of liquid fertilizer to farmers and plant factories
Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyushu University
Livestock companies are suffering from high cost burden of livestock manure treatment, while farmers and plant factories are facing intense price competition of agricultural products. In order to reduce the burden of manure treatment, we will sell a plant that can (i) separate the methane fermentation digestion liquid derived from manure into solid and liquid using chitosan and PGA flocculant, (ii) separate, concentrate and recover nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium from the liquid to produce concentrated bio-liquid fertilizer for soil cultivation, and (iii) produce growth agent fertilizer from the solid. In addition, we will sell concentrated bio-liquid fertilizer for hydroponics to farmers and plant factories so that they can produce high value-added agricultural products by cultivating without chemical fertilizers.
Cancer diagnostic system by body fluid analysis
Institute for Materials Chemistry and Engineering, Kyushu University
In this project, we will build a next-generation cancer diagnostic system that can detect cancer and identify cancer types within a few minutes and that is simple enough to be used in annual health checkups. Specifically, we will conduct research and development for the practical application of surface molecular analysis technology for a single exosome particle in body fluids. Ultimately, we will build an exosome measurement system using this technology as the core technology, and develop the business with the inspection circuit board and apparatus used in the system as the main products. We will also build an AI system to diagnose the results and provide contract measurement services.
Color-modulated smart windows based on nanosheet structural color materials
Department of Life, Environment, and Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Fukuoka Institute of Technology
In this project, we will develop a new type of color-tunable, dimmable and pattern-displaying smart window products using an innovative material called structural color nanosheet liquid crystal, whose maximum reflection wavelength changes by mechanical stimuli. Specifically, the window color will be tuned by compressing and relaxing the new material sandwiched between the glass plates. Power is consumed only when switching colors. The device is driven at high speed, and depending on the configuration, full-color pattern display is possible. From the viewpoints of energy saving (improvement of heating and cooling efficiency), privacy protection, and adding color to people’s lives, there is a universal need for shading, dimming, color tuning and decoration of windows. Therefore, by taking advantage of the “color-tuning” feature that is not available in conventional products, we can develop a unique and promising market.
Seeking pre-CxO personnel to accompany university-launched venture projects
Main initiative 2: ◆Development of educators and mentors who lead the entrepreneurship education program
①Creating an entrepreneurship educator network through university collaboration
With Fukuoka Growth Next (FGN) as the core headquarters, the Fukuoka School of Entrepreneurship (FSE) will be established with close reference to the initiatives made by the Swedish universities of Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, both situated in the Gothenburg area. The FSE will provide programs and opportunities to participate in academic conferences aimed at educators in the Fukuoka region and overseas entrepreneurship educators, and implement programs customized to the region, through all of which it will conduct Faculty Development (FD) initiatives to foster entrepreneurship educators in the region and assure the quality of education.
②Creating a mentor network in the region
The services provided by Fukuoka City, the mentor network of FGN and its support bases, and the human resources network of universities in the region will be fused, and Mentor Development (MD) initiatives to foster quality educators and mentors in the region will be implemented.