January 2017 Double Program – US/Japan and Academic/Industry Partnerships

January’s program was held at the Nippon Club. To download the event summary, click here.

January’s New York Pharma Forum featured two individual programs on collaboration and partnership opportunities between US and Japanese biopharma companies as well as between Academic institutions and biopharma companies.

Program 1: AMED in America: Creating New Opportunities for US-Japan Collaboration

The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) recently opened a U.S. office in Washington D.C., headed by Takiko Sano. The Japanese government established AMED in 2015 to accelerate R&D to bring innovative medicines to market. AMED is aggressively working with global partners to commercialize the research. For the first program, Ms. Sano will introduce AMED (often compared to the U.S. NIH), speak about the mission for its U.S. office, access to and commercialization of Japanese IP, and the opportunities they bring to the table for US biopharma companies.


Takiko Sano, Head of US Office, Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development(AMED)

Ms. Sano currently leads the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development’s (AMED) US efforts in her capacity as Director of its Washington, D.C. office and previously served as a senior manager in AMED’s department of International Affairs.

Ms. Sano’s distinguished career in government service includes time at multiple Japanese ministries including serving as Director for International Nuclear Energy Affairs at the Ministry of Economy, trade and Industry (METI), Deputy Director of the Nuclear Planning Division of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Deputy Director, Office for Cultural Property Protection Plan, Assistant Director, Office of General Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and others.

Her career has also included a fellowship at the Center for Research and Development Strategy of the Japan Science and Technology Agency and a stint as a professor at Yamagata University.

Program 2:  Dealmaking 2017: Exploring Academic-Industry Partnerships

The second program  will feature speakers discussing academic-industry dealmaking trends and the new and unique opportunities for biopharma companies in 2017 related to tech transfers/ IP acquisition. Given the research happening at top universities across the country, tech transfers are an important source of IP for companies, providing numerous commercialization opportunities. Speakers from both NYU’s and Columbia’s tech transfer departments will share some case studies of successfully completed deals as well as some of the IP available, and an attorney specializing in IP will talk about important intellectual property licensing issues.


Abram Goldfinger, Executive Director, Office of International Liaison, New York University

Abram Goldfinger is the Executive Director of the Office of Industrial Liaison at New York University, which is responsible for the commercialization of university technologies. He has been involved in academic technology transfer for more than 20 years, and has negotiated over 700 license agreements with industry and helped to form over 100 university spin-off companies. Prior to joining NYU, he served as the Director of Technology Transfer at Thomas Jefferson University, an academic medical center in Philadelphia. He has been involved in research and development in both industry and academia, including work at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Raytheon Company’s Advanced Systems Laboratory, and several startup companies. He has also provided consulting to large and small companies and venture capital firms, regarding market analysis, technology assessment, and business plan development. Abram received a B.S. in electrical engineering from MIT and an MBA from the Wharton School. He has also passed the patent bar exam and is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Samuel Waxman, Partner, Paul Hastings LLP

Mr. Waxman is a partner in the Mergers and Acquisitions and Technology Transactions practices at Paul Hastings. He is based in the firm’s New York office. His practice focuses on intellectual property licenses, with a particular emphasis on companies for whom intellectual property or technology is a key asset, mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, and joint ventures. He also represents venture investment funds and emerging technology companies, and is experienced in structuring and negotiating angel and venture financing. His clients range in size from Fortune 100 firms to emerging-stage companies in such diverse industries as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biotechnology, data security, mobile devices, and networking equipment.

Mr. Waxman lectures on intellectual property licensing issues at Cornell Tech, the technology-focused campus of Cornell University located in New York City.

Ofra Weinberger, PhD, Director, Columbia Technology Ventures

Ofra Weinberger, PhD, is Director of Licensing at Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV) and Associate Vice President for Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer at Columbia University.  She has been  involved with technology transfer at Columbia University for more than 20 years, and has extensive experience commercializing discoveries from university labs; negotiating licenses and research collaboration agreements with industry, developing strategic alliances, and spinning out companies to commercialize university technologies.

CTV, the technology transfer office of Columbia University, has been operational since 1982 and has returned over $2B in revenue to Columbia.  It is currently managing a portfolio of more than 600 patented technologies, and has spun out more than 180 startups around technologies discovered in University laboratories, of which >90 are still active, >40 are VC-backed, 10 have gone public, and 20 have been acquired.  It is among the most successful programs of its kind in the United States.  Dr. Weinberger received her PHD in Immunology from Harvard.