Toshiba Starts Collecting Genome Data in Japan, Signs Agreement with Venture Capital Company in Medical Field
May 30, 2019

Promoting precision medicine business with in-house assets and collaboration with external venture partner

Tokyo --( ASIA TODAY )-- Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) is drawing on advances as different as big data analytics and DNA analysis to promote innovations in precision medicine that contribute to the very early detection and diagnosis of disease, and to more effective personalized treatment. Under the Toshiba Next Plan, Toshiba Group’s five-year transformation plan, the company is now promoting two major initiatives: the use of Japonica Array® *1 to build a genome database; and a partnership with a venture capital company, entered into today, to promote investments in medical start-ups and business collaborations.

Japonica Array® is a genome sequencer that, in its present form, is configured to analyze genomic base sequence variations common in the DNA of Japanese, making it possible to genotype Japanese people in a short time. By building up tens of thousands of genomic data and health data drawn from volunteers in its corporate group, Toshiba will work with medical and life science organizations and researchers to secure advances in preventative medicine that contribute to predicting diseases and specific traits and predispositions; preventing lifestyle diseases; and to curtailing the advance of diseases and limiting their severity.

In parallel with this, Toshiba will also channel funds into promoting cultivation of new medical businesses. The Toshiba Next Plan introduced an in-house Corporate Venture Capital fund (CVC) with some 10-billion yen in capital, and a mandate to create new businesses. Toshiba will partner with Beyond Next Ventures Inc.*2, a Japanese business accelerator with track record of investment in medical start-ups, to identify promising venture companies and areas for collaboration.

Until recently, the main focus of medical science has been on diagnosis and treatment. Toshiba is drawing on recent advances to develop approaches that focus on causes. Collecting and analyzing large volumes of data, from health records and genotyping, will make it clearer how personal lifestyle pattern and genetic makeup dispose people to different ailments, and is expected to lead the way toward personally optimized prevention and treatment. In addition, funding and collaborations with innovators working in related areas, identified in the collaboration between Toshiba and Beyond Next Ventures Inc., will further promote new approaches to responding to disease.

In today’s Japan, one out of four men and one out of six women dies from cancer*3, and similar figures prevail throughout the developed world. These figures are fueling a growing awareness of the need to advance disease prevention and improve cure rates. Going beyond this, the required advances in medical technology are also expected to drive advances in cellular and regenerative medicine.

Toshiba’s precision medicine business is grounded in three premises: Toshiba enhances individual quality of life (QOL); Toshiba supports advanced medicine and the life sciences by cultivating technological prowess and leveraging new partnerships; and Toshiba utilizes digital power in preventative medicine for coming generations.

With its products, technology and customer network, Toshiba will further promote very early detection in areas such as recognizing cancers that take years to grow to identifiable levels; in individualized treatment optimized for the individual; and in preventative medicine that halts the progress of disease. Through its own efforts and by co-creation with partners that share its vision of the future, Toshiba aims to build a precision medicine business that extends from prevention to cure and that can make major contributions to better quality of life.


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