Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 344, May 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


Through its local unit, MTS SYSTEMS CORP. delivered testing equipment to MAZDA MOTOR CORP. to support the Mazda Digital Innovation Project. The $7.6 million contract included the Model 329 Multi-Axial Road Simulator, which, depending on the configuration, can be used for whole vehicle testing using rough road surfaces or for suspension testing. Via controller options, the Model 329 integrates with the Series 323 Multi-Axis Simulation Table. It is used for noise and vibration testing of components as well as durability testing. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota manufacturer also shipped to Mazda the Model 833 for fatigue and characterization testing of elastomers and components. Mazda joins a number of other Japanese automotive makers that have turn to MTS to expedite time to market for new vehicles.

The world leader in machine vision systems, COGNEX CORP., will ship more than $5 million worth of equipment to NIKON CORP. over the next two years for integration into a new generation of wafer steppers used in the semiconductor production process. The Natick, Massachusetts company's 4000 Series machine vision systems will ensure that wafers are positioned to submicron accuracy so that the integrated circuit patterns are transferred to the correct location. This precision will allow chip manufacturers to shrink wafer geometries, thereby yielding more and faster circuits from each wafer. Nikon is the top supplier of wafer steppers to the IC industry.

A Japanese company described only as a major manufacturer of data storage magnetic heads has bought a production dielectric ion-beam deposition system from COMMONWEALTH SCIENTIFIC CORP. The Alexandria, Virginia supplier's Millenion multimodule cluster tool deposits custom dielectric materials for improved gap dimensions on low-flying heads. The system incorporates CSC's inductively coupled radio-frequency ion sources, self-aligning ion optics and fully integrated software automation.

With the growing acceptance of Fibre Channel technology in Japan, XYRATEX expects to find a ready market for its Fibre Channel Protocol Analyzer Plus. The PA+ consists of a full-sized PCI card, two electrical interfaces and Windows 95-based XyraVIEW Pro software. It helps developers and integrators of Fibre Channel storage subsystems and peripheral devices design, test and debug products and ensure the interoperability of system components. NISSHO ELECTRONICS CORP. serves as the San Jose, California company's exclusive distributor.

In a deal that could be worth more than $42 million to MOLECULAR BIOSYSTEMS INC., the San Diego, California company signed an exclusive licensing agreement with CHUGAI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. for the development and sale of two ultrasound contrast agents in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. FS069 is the only commercially available perfluorocarbon-based cardiac ultrasound contrast imaging agent, while ORALEX is an oral ultrasound agent designed to distend the stomach and to displace gases so that doctors can gain a better view of the upper gastrointestinal anatomy. Under the arrangement, Chugai Pharmaceutical will pay up front a $14 million licensing fee. It also will buy 3.7 percent of MBI's stock for $8.3 million. In addition, the big Japanese drug company will make milestone payments of up to $20 million and pay royalties on sales.

The end of the exclusive distribution relationship between HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD. and NEC CORP.'s medical systems affiliate on the ImagePoint multispecialty ultrasound system allowed GE-YOKOGAWA MEDICAL SYSTEMS, LTD. to line up the electronics giant and its subsidiary to market ultrasonic diagnostic systems built by GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. The four LOGIQ Series machines and the RTfino system are being distributed nationally through 53 NEC MEDICAL SYSTEMS, LTD. channels. It is projecting annual sales of $7.6 million.

An alternative to invasive pulmonary artery catheterization procedures should be available soon in Japan. The product is the BioZ System from CARDIODYNAMICS INTERNATIONAL CORP. It uses thoracic electric bioimpedance technology to obtain data on cardiac output. The San Diego, California firm claims that the BioZ System can dramatically reduce hospital stays and postoperative complications while enabling faster diagnoses, more effective treatments and reduced labor costs. Tokyo- based distributor B.C.S. SYSTEMS, INC. has applied to the Ministry of Health and Welfare for marketing approval.

Clinical trials have started on AMERICAN BIOMED, INC.'s OmniCath atherectomy catheter, which is designed to remove atherosclerotic plaque from obstructed blood vessels throughout the body. Tokyo-based MEDICAL LEADERS LTD. has joined K'S PROJECT as a distributor of the Woodlands, Texas firm's product (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 340, January 1998, p. 17). .....Clinical evaluations also are underway on IRVINE BIOMEDICAL, INC.'s Super 4 cardiac ablation system. Designed for the treatment of atrial arrhythmias, including atrial flutter, and atrial fibrillation, the Irvine, California company's system consists of a 150- watt high-output ablation generator and a multielectrode ablation catheter. Ablative therapy can be delivered simultaneously or sequentially from four separate electrodes on the Super 4 catheter.

MHW has cleared for marketing EXOGEN, INC.'s second-generation Sonic Accelerated Fracture Healing System. Like its predecessor, the SAFHS Model 2000 is a low-intensity, pulsed ultrasound device that speeds the healing of fresh bone fractures. However, it is smaller, portable and more cost-effective than the original SAFHS. TEIJIN LTD. is the Piscataway, New Jersey company's marketing partner.

STIRUS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INC. tentatively has agreed to make Aichi prefecture-based YUTAKA ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY CO., LTD. the exclusive distributor of the STIRUS II second-generation hypodermic needle incinerator in Japan as well as in Laos and Sri Lanka. The Palm Beach, Florida firm has worldwide rights to market the French-manu- factured microprocessor-controlled, single-process hypodermic needle sterilizer. It also develops and markets a complementary line of products designed to prevent blood exposure for medical personnel.

Dental practices in Japan have a low-cost source of supply of brand-name equipment and consumables, thanks to an agreement between DARBY DENTAL LAB SUPPLY CO. INC. and ALPHA MEDICAL CO., LTD. A cross section of the Rockville Centre, New York discount mail-order supply house's 40,000-plus products is available through the Yokohama company, which is in the same business. Alpha Medical expects to deliver orders from Darby Dental within six days of their placement. It handles all import- related procedures. Sales are forecast at $2.3 million in three years.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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