Toshiba, Canon, 40 other Japanese firms in biochips pact

Mumbai: Toshiba Corp, Canon Inc and 30 to 40 other Japanese firms will team up to develop biochips, seeking new revenues in a market currently dominated by US firms.

The companies, including synthetic fiber maker Toray Industries Inc and electronics firm Yokogawa Electric Corp, will together standardise microchips that respond to genetic material, said medical consulting firm MediBic spokesman Takashi Kawai.

The firms will work together to standardise biochips for medical diagnoses and food safety checks, eyeing a market they expect to grow to 100 billion yen in 2010 in Japan, he said.

Demand for biochip in Japan comes mostly from research institutions, where US firms Affymetrix Inc and Agilent Technologies Inc are the dominant suppliers. The two hold patents for pinpointing DNA or RNA on membranes.

The group, with administrative support from government-affiliated Kazusa DNA Research Institute, will form a consortium on October 19, and will call on some 100 companies.