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Sony, M3, Illumina to launch new genome company in Japan

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sony, M3 and Illumina have formed a collaboration to launch a “genome information platform” in Japan. Sony and M3 will establish a new company, with Illumina as a minority investor, by the end of February.

Genome research, which analyzes human genetic data alongside medical and other information, has the capacity to lead to breakthroughs in identifying the origins of diseases as well as the development of new medicines and methods of treatment. There is growing anticipation for advances in the field of personalized medicine, where medication or treatments are optimized for the individual patient, and this is an area where genome research findings are expected to play an increasingly important role.

The new company’s “genome information platform” business will provide a genome analysis service for research institutions and enterprises in Japan. It also will aggregate genome data with related information such as medical data to support research in areas in which genome data is applied. As a result, the company will aim to contribute to advancements in Japanese personalized medicine and healthcare. The scope of its business is expected to extend beyond medical research, to provide a service platform that supports the use of genetic data and medical information for personalized medicine and healthcare services for individual patients.

Itaru Tanimura, representative director of M3, said, “The internet had a major impact on our lives. Gene diagnosis and treatment will potentially have the same or even greater influence. The current status of the human genome industry is comparable to the internet in the early 1990s, when companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook had yet to emerge. Going forward, I expect companies and services of this magnitude also to appear in this industry. This three party alliance combines each company’s unique strengths and resources, and together we intend to build a service platform that could not have been realized by others.”

Jay Flatley, CEO of Illumina, said, “With the cost of whole genome sequencing falling rapidly, the era of genome-based clinical decisions, personalized medicine and population health initiatives is on the horizon. Making use of genomic information for these purposes requires significant data collection and analysis and we are excited to work with Sony and M3 to build a powerful genomic database and lay the groundwork to support population health in Japan.”

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