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No. 366, March 2000

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American Companies in Japan


PRECISION AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

A surface profiler developed by KLA-TENCOR CORP. for analyzing the surface topography of substrates measuring up to 920mm x 920mm will be manufactured and marketed exclusively by TOHO TECHNICAL CORP. The San Jose, California company will provide the software for the system, which can handle all types of state-of-the-art R&D and production flat-panel displays and their color filters, glass substrates and other components. The Toho FP-20 profiler also can accommodate large printed circuit boards. Aichi prefecture-based Toho Technical hopes to sell more than 20 profilers in the initial year of marketing in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as well as in the United States. It priced the least expensive of the three available models at $275,200.

TEKELEC of Calabasas, California has delivered its velOSity diagnostic system to NEC CORP. for testing wideband-CDMA or third-generation mobile communications equipment for deployment in Japan. The big communications equipment maker is using the solution to perform functional and capacity testing of ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) protocols and interfaces. The Tekelec product is designed to handle the follow-on generation of wireless networking known as UMTS (universal mobile telecommunications systems). This standard will unite the currently different standards of the United States, Europe and Japan for digital cellular phones.

The subsidiary of AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC. is marketing the Telegra line of test and analysis systems developed by HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. for testing fax systems across conventional and IP- based networks. Two of the products address end-to-end testing of IP fax systems, VoIP gateways, fax servers, fax machines, fax modem devices and traditional and IP-based fax networks. The Agilent Telegra D, priced at $11,900, is a notebook-sized system that can be carried into the field for mobile applications, while the $24,800 Agilent Telegra M is a rack-mounted system designed for test laboratories and network and service operational testing. The third product, the Agilent Telegra VQT, provides a detailed analysis of voice clarity and delay as part of an end-to-end voice testing regime. According to Agilent, the Telegra VQT, which lists for $38,900, is the only such product that offers two different but complementary ways of measuring voice quality.

The transition from film-based imaging in medical institutions to digital diagnostics has created a storage constraint at these facilities. The subsidiary of SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. and regional carrier NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE WEST CORP. have developed a solution for this problem. Under their Medical Web initiative, the partners will take over from hospitals and the like the job of storing large- capacity data files. The service will network smaller SGI servers installed at medical institutions, such as the SGI Origin 200 machine, with powerful SGI Origin 2000-class systems located at a NTT West support center via high-speed leased lines. Digital images initially stored on-site will be automatically transferred to the support center every few months for archiving.

A DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) sequencing aid commercialized by COMMONWEALTH BIOTECHNOLOGIES, INC. will be available on a nonexclusive basis through COSMOBIO CO., LTD. and KN INTERNATIONAL, LLC, both of Tokyo. The Richmond, Virginia firm's AccuTrac is used to clearly mark DNA sequencing data to eliminate errors in the sequencing process that otherwise would require costly and time-consuming manual verification of the test data. CosmoBio, a distributor of chemical and biological reagents for life sciences research, will market AccuTrac to its clients, while KN International will work directly with genome centers and drug companies doing genome-related research.

MYRIAD GENETICS, INC. gave FALCO BIOSYSTEMS LTD. exclusive rights to use its diagnostic techniques to provide genetic testing services — a major step toward more personalized medicine for patients. The BRACAnalysis genetic test for breast and ovarian cancer and the CardiaRisk genetic test for hypertension and cardiovascular disease will be the first products introduced by the Kyoto laboratory testing company. For the time being, the results will be analyzed at Myriad's Salt Lake City, Utah research center, but in FY 2002, Falco Biosystems expects to take over this work. The fast-expanding Japanese company (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 365, February 2000, p. 20) projects that the new business will generate revenues of $458,700 the first year. Falco Biosystems paid Myriad $3 million upfront for its renewable six-year license. The biopharmaceutical firm also is entitled to royalties on sales of its products. The line of Myriad genetic testing products can be expanded at Falco Biosystems' option.

Three of Japan's major clinical laboratories — including the largest, SRL, INC., and the number two, BML, INC. — will install TRIPATH IMAGING, INC.'s AutoPap Primary Screening System. This computerized system is designed to improve the detection of cervical cancer at the earliest stage. It employs the Burlington, North Carolina manufacturer's technology to distinguish between normal Pap smears and those that have the highest likelihood of abnormality. NIKON CORP. represents TriPath.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare approved R2 TECHNOLOGY, INC.'s ImageChecker for use in breast cancer screening. The first computer-aided detection system for mammography cleared for marketing in Japan, the system utilizes the Los Altos, California developer's signal-processing neural network technology to help minimize the possibility of false negative readings by radiologists. MARUBENI CORP. will distribute the film-based version of ImageChecker (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 357, June 1999, p. 9).

VIDAMED, INC. — the developer of the TUNA (transurethral needle ablation) System for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, better known as enlarged prostate condition — has changed distributors. MC MEDICAL, INC., a MITSUBISHI CORP. subsidiary, replaced CENTURY MEDICAL INC. as the exclusive representative of the Fremont, California company. MC Medical initially will handle the minimally invasive ProVu disposable catheter and the 7600 VTS generator. In connection with this deal, Mitsubishi made an equity investment described as modest in VidaMed.

The Hydro Med Sciences drug delivery division of GP STRATEGIES CORP. made MITSUBISHI CORP. its exclusive Japanese licensing representative. The Cranbury, New Jersey company's lead drug delivery technology is the Hydron Implant. This polymer-based device, which is implanted subcutaneously and is retrievable, can deliver a wide range of drugs at controlled, constant release rates for a year or even more. It currently is in Phase III clinical testing in the United States for the continuous delivery of a synthetic hormone to patients with prostate cancer. The trading company hopes to make drug delivery systems a key part of its medical operations.

Marketing of CLOSURE MEDICAL CORP.'s DERMABOND Topical Skin Adhesive could start as soon as the spring now that MHW has cleared for sale this replacement for sutures and staples for closing certain lacerations and incisions. ETHICON, INC., a JOHNSON & JOHNSON subsidiary and the world leader in suture sales, is in charge of marketing the product, which is based on the Raleigh, North Carolina manufacturer's proprietary cyanoacrylate technology.

With the expected April 1 launch of the government's home health-care program, the subsidiary of medical equipment supplier MALLINCKRODT, INC. sees considerable opportunity to expand sales of its portable home oxygen treatment equipment. Respirators, tanks and related products contributed just $6 million toward the St. Louis firm's Japanese revenues of $128.4 million in the year through June 1999. If all goes according to plan, however, these products could generate sales of $91.7 million annually in five years. Mallinckrodt currently sells nine products for home medical use, but it will add 14 American-made portable home oxygen treatment products to its lineup. The company also plans over the coming five years to boost its marketing staff to 500 people from 200 now, with most of the new employees assigned to home health-care products.

What manufacturer MILESTONE SCIENTIFIC, INC. claims is a virtually painless system for administering local anesthetic in connection with dental procedures has been cleared for sale. The Wand is a computer- controlled injection system with a single-use dispos-able handpiece. The Livingston, New Jersey firm's exclusive distributor, YOSHIDA DENTAL MANUFACTURING CO., LTD., already has ordered 1,000 system kits. One of Japan's largest dental equipment wholesalers and distributors, Yoshida Dental is responsible for ensuring that dentists are properly trained in the use of The Wand.

The types of laser vision correction procedures that can be performed using VISX, INC.'s refractive laser technology have increased. MHW gave the marketing go-ahead to the Santa Clara, California firm's VISX STAR S2 Smoothscan excimer laser system for the treatment of myopia, or nearsightedness, with astigmatism. More than half of Japan's population is estimated to have this problem. In May 1998, the ministry approved the use of VISX's excimer laser system for the treatment of corneal scars and dystrophies of the eye. The company's subsidiary, established in late 1997, is in charge of training doctors in laser vision correction as well as marketing and servicing the equipment.

An exchange rate of ¥109=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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