3-D Matrix, a top biotech firm in Japan, has a market value of roughly $1 billion. It has the most-traded stock on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. 3-Ds main product is PuraMatrix, a hydrogel made of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) that self-assemble into nanofiber scaffolds in the presence of salt. Shuguang Zhang is the founder of 3-D and Zen Chu is the CEO.
This news finds a mention here as an illustration of a relatively new methodology of innovation – Open source innovation.
Here are some excerpts straight from their site – http://www.rdmag.com/news/2014/02/growing-business-lab?et_cid=3746623&et_rid=605606197&location=top
“What biotechs do is they lock everything down and prioritize, but you don’t let people build on top of your key technology,” Chu says. But Zhang insisted upon open innovation by putting a product on the market and letting other people use it.
During the company’s early days, every time Zhang would speak at a conference, he’d bring 20 vials of PuraMatrix to hand out to any curious researcher. This helped boost early validation of the product: In the first year alone, the hydrogel was used in more than 40 studies of neurosurgery and tissue regeneration.
“It’s about innovation from all levels of invention,” Zhang says. “The more people who use your material, the more discoveries people can make and the more applications people can find. This was crucial to the company’s success.”
Nagano continued with the original open-source philosophy, freely distributing the materials to researchers in Japan, the U.S. and elsewhere, which contributed to the company’s success there.
Open innovation is a build up of the old concept of Lead users.