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

No. 345, June 1998

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Japanese Companies in the US


Scottsdale, Arizona-based AQUARIUS MEDICAL CORP., a medical systems developer that KOBAYASHI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. acquired in February 1997 for about $9.3 million, will start to make and market this summer its parent's Thermo- STAT body core warming device. The portable, cordless system provides a noninvasive means of treating or preventing hypothermia. However, unlike other products, which deliver a maximum human body core temperature rewarming rate of 1º centigrade per hour, Thermo-STAT accelerates the rewarming rate to 1ºC every 5 minutes or so. In time, Osaka's Kobayashi Pharmaceutical plans to export Thermo- STAT to Europe and Japan. It is projecting system sales of $37 million in 2006.

SAKURA FINETEK U.S.A., INC. opened a new U.S. headquarters in Torrance, California. The company is the marketing arm of SAKURA FINE TECHNICAL CO., LTD., a manufacturer of histology and cytology equipment and disposables. The site has room for the addition of a R&D center and manufacturing facility should the company decide to go in that direction.

Production of the VP series of high-performance liquid chromatographs has officially started at SHIMADZU USA MANUFACTURING, INC. in Canby, Oregon. The grand opening of the $10 million facility coincided with the announcement that SHIMADZU CORP. would add a department to develop HPLC products adapted to the needs of the American market and to focus on the improvement of HPLC detectors that use light-beam technology. The plant currently employs about 60 people. Staffing is expected to expand to 100 next year. Sales, forecast at $3.5 million in 1998, could reach $7.4 million in 2000. Pharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers use chromatographs to analyze the composition of liquids in their research and development work and in manufacturing.

Furthering its biomedical group's commitment to the areas of cell biology and genomic DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) research, TAKARA SHUZO CO., LTD. tentatively agreed with GENETIC MICROSYSTEMS INC. to jointly commercialize products based on DNA microarray technology. The Woburn, Massachusetts start-up is developing a new generation of enabling products for genomics research and drug discovery; it already has come up with instrumentation for DNA microarray-based analysis. Under the pending arrangement, sake maker Takara Shuzo will help fund Genetic MicroSystems' product development work as well as take an undisclosed equity position in the company. In return, it will gain exclusive rights to distribute GMS DNA microarray products in Japan, the People's Republic of China, South Korea and Taiwan. The Japanese partner also will be able to use the GMS technology platform to manufacture DNA chips and to provide array making and reading services in the four markets.

The Department of State's Passport Office is using a machine for printing passports that supplier TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD. claims yields documents that are virtually forgery proof. In a single pass, the MP3000US digitizes the applicant's photo, prints the picture and personal data in a special ink and laminates the page. The Toppan- developed printing ink is highly resistant to exposure to light, pressure and alcohol, making passports difficult to alter.

The world's top manufacturer of photoblanks or photomask substrates, HOYA CORP., and the international leader in photomask production, DUPONT PHOTOMASKS, INC., have entered into a strategic alliance. They will collaborate on the development of advanced photoblanks used in the production of binary and phase-shift photomasks for the manufacture of semiconductors with 0.18-micron design rules and below. Hoya will supply Round Rock, Texas DPI with developmental photoblanks -- highly polished quartz plates coated with ultrathin layers of chrome and photoresist -- based on jointly decided design and performance specifications. For an undisclosed period, DPI will have exclusive rights to use the photoblanks and the technology developed as a result of the partnership. It also agreed to use Hoya photoblanks in its photomask manufacturing operations, supplementing products made at its Poughkeepsie, New York plant.

An exchange rate of ¥135=$1.00 was used in this report.

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