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January 23, 2014
Sony Corporation ("Sony") today announced that Sony, M3, Inc. ("M3") and Illumina, Inc. ("Illumina") have agreed to form 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, 2014.
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 will also aggregate genome data with related information such as medical data to support research in areas where genome data is applied. As a result, the company will aim to contribute to advancements in Japanese personalized medicine and healthcare. Going forward, 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.
"I'm very excited by the potential of this collaboration to deliver new services and breakthroughs that bring us ever closer to the realization of the personalized medicine and healthcare era.
At Sony, we are positioning the medical business as one of our key growth pillars. Together with M3, a Sony Group affiliated company and leader in medical information services, and Illumina, who lead the world in next-generation genome-sequencers, we aim to facilitate genome research that further advances Japanese medical care, and in the future establish a new service platform for the medical industry."
"The Internet had 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 1990's, when companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook had yet to emerge. Going forward, I expect companies and services of this magnitude to also 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."
"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", said Jay Flatley, Chief Executive Officer of Illumina. "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."