DRD Biotech, a resident company of the Skolkovo Foundation that makes rapid tests for diagnosing strokes and other conditions affecting the brain, won second prize at the Asian Entrepreneurship Award in Tokyo this week, taking home 500,000 yen ($4,700).

Anzhey Zhimbiev (centre) with the second prize of 500,000 yen in Tokyo. Photo: Asian Entrepreneurship Award.

The company, a resident of Skolkovo’s biomed cluster, also won a free place for three years at the 31 Ventures co-working space in Tokyo.

“Russia was being represented in this competition for the first time, so we’re particularly pleased that we put up a good show,” said Anzhey Zhimbiev, CEO of DRD (Diagnostic Reagents & Devices) Biotech. 

“In the near future, we plan to enter the Asian markets, so winning this competition sets a good basis for that,” he added.

“DRD Biotech is working on a solution to a medical problem that has no borders: express kits for the diagnosis of strokes and brain trauma,” said Ruslan Altaev, head of project acceleration within Skolkovo’s biomed cluster.

“It’s known that for the successful treatment of such conditions, swift and accurate diagnosis is critical, regardless of where it occurs – Russia, America or Asia. For this reason, the project’s team has made international cooperation a priority from the very beginning. And that’s why the recognition in Japan of its value and potential is so important: it’s a leading country in biomedical technologies,” added Altaev.

First prize in the competition, which ran from June 5 to 7, went to Malaysian startup BorderPass, a service that simplifies airport procedures by replacing paper immigration forms with online profiles sent to the destination government when the ticket is booked. Third place was taken by Taiwan’s Gimer Medical, which produces electrical stimulation systems for the relief of chronic back pain and pain associated with cancer and carpal tunnel syndrome.

DRD Biotech makes innovative tests for the early diagnosis of damage to the brain, including one that can determine whether a person has suffered a one-off stroke or repeated strokes, and whether a person is at risk of suffering from one. The tests diagnose ischemic strokes, which are caused by an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain, as opposed to hemorrhagic strokes that occur when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and spills blood into brain tissue. Ischemic strokes account for 87 percent of all stroke cases, according to the American Stroke Association.

Currently the company is working on prototyping its stroke test and is looking for a partner with whom to carry out clinical trials, after which the testing kits should be available for medical use.

DRD Biotech was founded in Ulan-Ude, capital of the Russian republic of Buryatia, and is also a resident of Buryatia’s Biotechnopolis technopark. In March, it won second prize at the Pioneers Moscow startup competition.

The Asian Entrepreneurship Award was being held for the fifth time, and featured a total of 27 teams from 14 countries, mainly in Asia. They were judged on the innovativeness of their business model, potential economic and social impact and the feasibility of implementation.