As a key component to the FAST Program, FAST International provides non-U.S.-based clusters seeking to grow their regional economies with the resources and counsel to establish a commercial foothold in U.S. markets and connects them to the resources required to develop subsidiaries or commercial spin-offs in the United States.

Designed to nurture and advocate for emerging and diverse innovators from throughout the state, CLS supports several established programs that provide grants, funding, cost savings and advisory services to help in the development and commercialization of their business.

FAST International: Japan (Kansai)

CLS and Bayer Yakuhin, in collaboration with Sysmex, the Kyoto University Medical Science and Business Liaison Organization (KUMBL), the City of Kobe, and the Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation at Kobe (FBRI) together run the annual Kansai Life Science Accelerator Program for nurturing and supporting life science startups in the Kansai region of Japan.  Together, we are helping to build a vibrant startup culture to supplement the strong academic programs and mature life science industry in Kansai. Combining a community of healthcare-related businesses, advanced specialty hospitals, and research institutions, we are establishing an ecosystem that creates new technologies and business models in the life sciences.

Experienced US life science business professionals (angel investors, serial entrepreneurs, and industry experts) serve as dedicated advisors for the participating startups, leveraging their real-world experience to help these young companies overcome an array of commercialization challenges.  Advisory sessions initially concentrate on the development of a strong business model and later focus on communicating that model to potential investors or strategic partners through presentations.  Each program concludes with an opportunity for the participating companies to present to a combined Japanese/US audience.

Sponsored By:

Here's What Recent Graduates Have to Say

“CLS acceleration program was an unique opportunity to “fail” safely with various pitch ideas and to obtain intelligent feedback from quite diverse advisor pool. Thank you !”- ” -Hide Takahashi, PuREC Co., Ltd. (CLS FAST International Japan 2021)

“The most valuable aspect of the program was that we were given honest opinion about us from experts in the field. Interacting with the accomplished experts in the pharma world was sobering and humbling, and had a major effect on how we, as a company, view our position in the market.” -Kotaro Fujiyoshi, SyntheticGestalt (CLS FAST International Japan 2021)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has mobilized the global scientific community to work together. I don’t know of any program that fosters cross border collaborations like FAST. CLS FAST International advisory program works with early stage companies and creates an environment for an open and in depth conversation.


The CLS team was great to work with and they understood our challenges to pair us with a team of advisors that were extremely helpful. Our advisory team consisted of investors, regulatory experts, lawyers, pharma executives, successful entrepreneurs, doctors etc. Through the program we were able to be connected to qualified leads and look forward to growing together with CLS FAST International.


HACARUS is developing innovative methods to find effective treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease while also developing screening models for drug discovery for faster analysis and feature extraction capabilities. We look forward to partnering with biotech industry and academia in California.” -Mr. J.J Price, HACARUS Inc., CLS FAST International Japan (Kansai region), Fall 2020

FAST International: Nordic Region

The Nordic Mentor Network for Entrepreneurship (NOME) has joined forces with CLS to give Nordic Life Science startups access to potential partners and capital in one of the world’s most innovative regions through our FAST program.  The annual six-day program includes sessions on U.S. Markets and Funding Opportunities and the U.S. Regulatory and Reimbursement environments, as well as focused one-on-one meetings with advisory teams customized to meet the needs of the company with which they will work. The NOME companies also present alongside our FAST cohort at the FAST Closing Showcase along with other international early stage life science companies.

For non-U.S.-based clusters seeking to grow their regional economies, FAST International helps life science researchers and early-stage companies gain commercial footholds in U.S. markets and connects them to the resources required to develop subsidiaries or commercial spin-offs in the United States.

Here's What Recent Graduates Have to Say

“Great insights to the US medical device landscape as a whole, and access to mentors with in-depths expertise in our particular field.” Eric Alhanco, CEO Medituner, CLS FAST International (NOME program), 2019.

“Valuable ideation on strategy and contact into the US eco-system.” Kim Baden-Kristensen, Co-founder & CEO at Brain+, CLS FAST International (NOME program), 2020

FAST International: Canadian Technology Accelerator Program

The Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) San Francisco – Life Sciences is an intensive program run by CLS, in conjunction with the Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco. It offers high potential emerging Canadian life science companies strategic guidance and tailored resources to help expand their business in a global hub for the life sciences sector. We focus on providing entrepreneurs in biopharmaceuticals, digital health, medical devices, imaging, precision medicine/genetics, research tools, and diagnostics with customized advisory and in-market programming to advance their commercialization strategies, both in their home market and the United States. This annual program combines remote meetings with on site sessions in San Francisco, culminating with presentations at the FAST Showcase.

For non-U.S.-based clusters seeking to grow their regional economies, FAST International helps life science researchers and early-stage companies gain commercial footholds in U.S. markets and connects them to the resources required to develop subsidiaries or commercial spin-offs in the United States.

Here's What Recent Graduates Have to Say

“Most valuable was the connection with advisors.  We have continued to engage one in particular.  She has been a great help.  We also continue our clinical relationship with UC Irvine.  This was helped along through the CTA .” Stephen Graham, Ph.D. CEO at Picomole Inc., CLS FAST International Canada (CTA program), 2020.

“The mentors, advisors, consultants, and friends I’ve made through CLSI. During the 2020-21 lockdowns, I relied heavily on the network of people that was largely formed with the help of CLSI.” Cody Shirriff, CEO at Serenity Bioworks, CLS FAST International Canada (CTA program), 2018.

FAST International Canada- SoCal Biotech Highway Program

In Spring 2022, the first cohort of the FAST SoCal Biotech Highway program was delivered in partnership with the Consulate of Canada in San Diego, offering pharma-focused Canadian biotech companies customized high touch advisory services, including the critical feedback from industry experts who have previously held roles as senior pharma scouts and successful venture capitalists (VCs). Southern California has evolved into one of the world’s largest life science hubs with one of the highest concentrations of biotech companies, academic research institutions and talented labor forces in the world. SoCal is a major driver of global life sciences research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization. This program is part of California Life Sciences continuing efforts to further strengthen the life sciences industry in Southern California.

FAST International India- KITS India Program

The initial FAST International India program was launched in February 2022 to support 5 growth stage medtech start-ups founded in India. This program is a collaboration of California Life Sciences (CLS) and the Karnataka Innovation Technology Society (KITS), supported by the State government of Karnataka, India. Companies in this program received customized advisory sessions from a team of experts in the CLS network. This program presents an opportunity for innovative medical device companies to build relationships within the California ecosystem and provides an avenue to bring new medtech innovations to partners with our medical device industry. The companies in this cohort are developing technologies that are affordable, accessible and require limited expertise and infrastructure, thus making them useful in serving communities in rural areas as well as being cost effective in the US.

FAST International: United Kingdom (Scotland)

CLS has been working with the Queen’s Medical Research Institute (QMRI) since the fall of 2017.  Based at the BioQuarter in Edinburgh, QMRI utilizes technologies sourced from multiple universities across the United Kingdom with expertise drawn from the University of Edinburgh’s Medical School to develop medtech products aimed at a variety of unmet medical needs.  Located alongside the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, QMRI combines deep R&D capabilities with direct clinical access. In particular, CLS collaborates with the University of Edinburgh’s Health Technology Accelerator Facility (HTAF) to offer commercialization advisory services on a variety of proof-of-concept medtech development programs on an ongoing basis.

FAST International: Australia (Queensland)

Trade & Investment Queensland (TIQ) and Life Sciences Queensland (LSQ) partnered with CLS to provide Queensland life sciences companies that have a demonstrated interest in US markets the opportunity to participate in a 12-week accelerator advisory program. Combining in person and virtual multi-day advisory sessions, CLS prepared these companies for entry into the US by concentrating on the scale and complexity of the US ecosystem and, importantly, on regulatory considerations and financial markets. The CLS team also prepared the program participants for presentations and partnering meetings taking place during the J.P. Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

FAST International: Japan (Tokyo)

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government seeks to build a biotech cluster utilizing the resources of the region, supplemented by additional expertise. Sponsored by the government, Blockbuster Tokyo supports that goal through a variety of means including seminar programs and accelerator programs for pharmaceutical and medical startups. One such program, operated by Beyond Next Ventures (BNV) is an acceleration initiative for pharmaceutical and medical startups aims to encourage the establishment and growth of pharmaceutical and medical startups by providing various forms of support to address many of the challenges these startups face.

Beyond Next Ventures joined forces with CLS to support and grow the potential of highly motivated Japanese entrepreneurs who are developing revolutionary technologies. BNV and CLS are working in synchrony with a common goal: to commercialize these technologies for public benefit. In 2020 and early 2021, CLS partnered with BNV to provide FAST advisory commercialization services to ten (10) emerging life science companies from Japan. The program took place between October and January, during which the companies are iterating their business plans and vetting their commercialization strategies with teams of industry experts who have been selected on the basis needs of each company’s needs. The Japanese companies gained introductions through the CLS network and the local life sciences community and explored partnerships and collaborations with pharma and academic entities in one of the world’s most innovative regions- California!

Meet the 2020 cohort:

  • LiberoThera Co., Ltd
  • OTS-probes
  • Gate Effect
  • BRI
  • CrestecBio
  • Cell Materials
  • Veneno Technologies
  • Spiber Frontier Development
  • Axion Research
  • JollyGood Inc

Interested in Learning More?

Shikha Sharma, PhD
Senior Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Innovation Services
[email protected]
510 384 9108