2019-10-30 15:27Press release

SmiLe to collaborate with Japanese corporation

SmiLe Incubator, one of Sweden´s few specialized life science business incubators, has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Akros Pharma Inc. (“Akros”). Akros is a US based pharmaceutical subsidiary to the Japanese enterprise, Japan Tobacco Inc.(“JT”) in Tokyo, Japan.


Akros has chosen SmiLe as a valuable partner for access to and participation in innovative life science startup clusters in Sweden. SmiLe Incubator is happy to include Akros to its network of industry partners, as an important representative of the Asian pharmaceutical industry.


JT  develops pharmaceutical therapies for metabolic diseases,  autoimmune/inflammatory diseases and viral infection.  In 2018, JT reported net sales of 114 billion yen (€ 1 billion) and close to 40 billion yen (€ 330M) R&D investment with 2,000 employees in its pharmaceutical business.


Smile Incubator, a non-profit organization, supports life science startups in developing sustainable companies that can reach international markets based on their innovations. To date, 50 companies have graduated from the incubator program. Another 23 startups are currently active in the incubator program where SmiLe offers business support based on expertise and long industry experience, well equipped labs and close relations to local and international industry and financing. These 73 companies have together attracted more than € 290 million (approx. 35 billion yen) the last five years. In addition to the incubator program, SmiLe includes a program for its alumni companies and the Health2B, a two-month accelerator program for early stage health tech startups and entrepreneurs.


Through this LoI, SmiLe will further strengthen its understanding of the needs of the pharma industry, which is key to paving the way for internationalization for SmiLe community startup companies. Akros, for their part, will gain access to Sweden´s innovation clusters within life science and, thereby, have the possibility to scout startups within their focus areas. In addition, both parties value the match-making opportunities between SmiLe´s startups and Akros.


“The Letter of Intent with Akros Pharma is an important milestone for SmiLe! We already have substantial interaction and collaborations within our target industry; however, Akros Pharma will be our first formalized agreement to be signed. We are very happy about the opportunities this will create for our community”, says Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO of SmiLe Incubator.


“We are excited to partner with SmiLe Incubator, a life science business incubator, known for its support for life science startups”, says Hideshi Sunada, President & CEO, Akros Pharma Inc..



For information about SmiLe Incubator, contact: Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO at SmiLe Incubator

+46 (0)734000433, ebba@smileincubator.life



About Akros Pharma Inc.: In 1999, Akros Pharma Inc. was established in the US, currently with an office in Princeton, New Jersey. Akros is involved in the collecting and providing of information for its parent entity, JT regarding the pharmaceutical industry and potential partners for collaborative research projects in the U.S, and with other clinical and business development activities. JT was originally established in 1898 as a Japanese government bureau (of the Ministry of Finance) in Japan. After privatization in 1985, JT entered the pharmaceuticals sector in 1987 as a part of its corporate diversification program. Since then, it has engaged in highly-innovative drug R&D, both in-house and in collaboration with partners in the U.S., Europe and Japan.




Language: English

About SmiLe Venture Hub – Pioneering Life Science Innovations

SmiLe is a life science business incubator based in Medicon Village in Lund. SmiLe Incubator helps entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas. There are currently more than 20 companies in SmiLe, which together with alumni companies, have attracted almost EUR 290 million in venture capital to date since 2014. SmiLe offers business coaching, a large network of contacts and a dynamic community, as well as many well-equipped laboratories, which is unique of its kind in Sweden. SmiLe is a non-profit organization and receives basic funding from Region Skåne, Lund Municipality, Lund University and Medicon Village. SmiLe´s sponsors are Sparbanken Skåne, Awa, Høiberg, Prevas, Setterwalls, Zacco, Aqilion. SmiLe’s listed alumni companies have a market capitalization of almost EUR 690 million (Q2 2019). www.smileincubator.life