As you might remember from our press release last summer, Yokogawa established Yokogawa Innovation Switzerland (YIS) in July 2020. What has happened since then? Which new innovations can we expect from the new-founded organization?
We got the chance to speak to Tsuneji Sawai, the Managing Director of Yokogawa Innovation Switzerland. In this exclusive interview, Sawai talks about the long-term goals of Yokogawa Innovation Switzerland and its significance for bioeconomy.
Tsuneji Sawai worked for more than twenty years for Yokogawa's R&D department before taking over the new role as the Managing Director of YIS.
Focus areas of Yokogawa Innovation Switzerland
LIB Blog: Thank you for taking the time for an interview today, Mr. Sawai. Please tell us, on which areas will Yokogawa Innovation Switzerland primarily focus?
Tsuneji Sawai: We started with operations in August 2020, so our company is still very young. First of all, our mission is to explore the attractive business and R&D field in the bioeconomy area. To achieve that effectively and efficiently, we need to raise awareness for the Yokogawa Life Innovation Business. We already have a successful Life Innovation Business in Europe with products for High Content Analysis (HCA) like CQ1 or CV8000 and our Confocal Spinning Disc Units (CSU). With Yokogawa Fluid Imaging Technologies we have the Flowcam, a high-quality particle analyzer. But not many people actually know that Yokogawa is not only active in Industrial Automation, but also in Life Science. It is our mission to help Yokogawa to gain more brand awareness under the collaboration with our LIB headquarter, Yokogawa Europe, and other partners.
The importance of biotechnology
LIB Blog: Why is biotechnology so important for Yokogawa?
Tsuneji Sawai: In Yokogawa’s long-term business framework, a sustainable society is defined as one of the focus areas. Through our bioeconomy business and amongst other initiatives, we are working to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and contribute to the development of a circular economy. Bioeconomy is an important pillar for building a sustainable society. For the acquisition of biotechnology, Yokogawa has already taken steps such as investing in AlgaEnergy, a Spanish microalgae company, and Bloom Biorenewables, a Swiss biomass company that will certainly be featured in this blog as well. We always welcome partners under Yokogawa's slogan "Co-innovating tomorrow".
Basel is the number one place to be
LIB Blog: Why did you choose Basel as your headquarter's place?
Tsuneji Sawai: Our headquarter of Yokogawa Innovation Switzerland is located in Allschwil, next to the city of Basel. Basel is the European center of biotechnology and Life Science. A lot of innovative biotech companies and start-ups are located here. So we are in the best company.
LIB Blog: I heard that you have to share some exciting news with us?
Tsuneji Sawai: Indeed. In the near future, we plan to establish a showroom for our Life Innovation Business products in Switzerland. It will be in the same building as Yokogawa Innovation Switzerland. We will have a shared laboratory for conducting Proof of Concepts (PoC).
From Japan to Switzerland
LIB Blog: You originally came from Japan. Now you relocated to Switzerland in November 2020. How does it feel to live in Switzerland?
Tsuneji Sawai: After I started working in Basel, I realized that we had chosen the best place to work with the Life Science and Bioeconomy ecosystem. An open innovation system is effectively working, and the government, academia, and industries are welcome to work with other entities.
Speaking of private life, Basel is a safe and convenient city for foreigners, and I am very much satisfied with life here. People are kind, honest, and earnest, and I can live and work comfortably.