JRC Pharmaceuticals photo Leiden 1

Japanese JCR Pharmaceuticals established their subsidiary in Leiden to become a base for development in Europe

The favorable Dutch business environment in the Greater Rotterdam-The Hague area, and specifically in Leiden, made a great impression on JCR. The central location in Europe and proximity to EMA, the high concentration of biotech and pharma in the country with major life science parks and research hospitals, as well as access to high level talent were among the critical factors for JCR to decide on Leiden as headquarter for its European subsidiary.

JCR Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. is a Japanese biopharmaceutical company founded in 1975, engaged in the R&D of therapeutic medicines for lysosomal storage diseases, a group of rare genetic diseases. Originally a Japanese domestic company, JCR is now extending their global reach to support the global development of their innovative medicines. As part of this effort, in September 2022 JCR announced the establishment of JCR Europe B.V. as their new subsidiary, serving primarily as a base for conducting clinical development activities in Europe.

JCR has developed a unique platform that enables therapeutic molecules to pass the blood-brain -barrier, which is a breakthrough in drug development. This will change the paradigm for treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. While the first molecule based on this technology has been approved in Japan for the treatment of a rare genetic disorder called Mucopolysaccharidosis type II or Hunter Syndrome, JCR is now developing this molecule for global approval.

Opportunities for growth

With this expansion into Europe, JCR strives to extend the possibilities for patients and accelerate medical advancement on a global level. Its location adjacent to the Leiden Bio Science Park (LBSP) may open further opportunities for growth in Europe.

Anne Bechet, who was appointed as the General Manager of JCR Europe, has over 20 years of experience in drug development including 15 years in the field of rare diseases.

“We are thrilled that JCR chose to establish their European subsidiary in the Netherlands, embedded in the Leiden Bio Science Park. The uniquely rich local life-science and talent pool, proximity to EMA and ease of access to the major research centers in Europe provide the ideal environment to build a strong European organization”, says Anne.

Anne Bechet is not new to the area. After starting her career in the Netherlands over 20 years ago, she has been active on the Leiden Bio Science Park in the past.

“As JCR Europe, the subsidiary will contribute to the extension of JCR’s global reach. We will build a strong relationship with KOLs in Europe, with Patient Advocacy groups and regulators. We will also aim at networking with other biotechs and pharma corporations with the hope that the JCR platform will be a spark resulting in further collaborations in the CNS therapeutics space.”

Addition to the community

Home to over 150 companies, the Leiden Bio Science Park’s ecosystem comprises innovative companies, leading research institutes and academic excellence. LBSP´s environment provides JCR with access to human capital, a culture of innovation and scientific quality of thought. The Mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink, is proud that JCR Pharmaceuticals have chosen the Leiden Bio Science Park community as the location for their operations.

“We are delighted to welcome JCR Pharmaceuticals to the Leiden Bio Science Park, where we are dedicated to advancing the field of life sciences and making a meaningful impact on patients’ lives. We are confident that JCR shares this commitment and look forward to their contributions to improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable population.”

A prime motivator behind JCR’s choice for Leiden was its fruitful collaboration with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) and InnovationQuarter within the Invest in Holland network. The NFIA provided support and information regarding national guidelines, while InnovationQuarter assisted JCR in establishing its European office and provided details highlighting the strong connection between Leiden and Japan.

Jeroen Bokhoven, Executive Director, NFIA Japan, is very pleased to have supported JCR Pharma’s choice for the Netherlands:

“We expect that JCR Pharmaceuticals, by bringing their technology to the Netherlands as well as the European Life Science and Health Care market, will create significant added value and contribute to solving most pressing medical issues.”

Lissa Culbertson Boxy, Senior Account Manager Life Sciences & Health, InnovationQuarter, who has traveled to Japan numerous times to participate in the Bio Japan conference, is happy to welcome JCR Pharma to Leiden.

“JCR Europe is a valuable and exciting addition to the Leiden Bio Science Park community, with its focus on the blood-brain barrier with enzyme replacement therapy and its amazing potential in the treatment of neurological disorders.”