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No. 360, September 1999

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American Companies in Japan


PRECISION AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

Although details are scarce, CATAPULT COMMUNICATIONS of Mountain View, California has made the first sale of its software-based test system for third-generation or wideband CDMA (code-division multiple access) wireless protocol telephony products. The buyer is FUJITSU, LTD. 3G is a next-generation wireless technology that is expected to deliver wireless voice services with the same quality levels of wireline telephony. That capability will bring the speed and the capacity needed to support multimedia and high-speed data applications.

HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has added a third model to the Infiniium line of oscilloscopes. The 1-GHz HP 54835A fills the gap between a 500-MHz model and a 1.5-GHz model and gives electronics firms designing digital circuitry in the 500-MHz to 1-GHz bandwidth range a lower-priced alternative to using the $35,400 system for applications requiring 1.5 GHz of bandwidth. The new Infiniium product, which offers as many as four channels operating at 1 GHz and sampling rates up to 4 GSa/s, lists for $25,300. With the expanded line, HP Japan expects to sell 1,000 Infiniium oscilloscopes a year.

An ultra-high-speed video recording system that can record up to 4,500 full frames per second or as many as 40,500 pictures per second in partial frame mode is on the market from EASTMAN KODAK CO.'s subsidiary. Developed by the company's San Diego, California Motion Analysis Systems Division, the KODAK EKTAPRO HS Motion Analyzer Model 4540 is designed for the analysis of extremely rapid events, such as airbag deployment. Equipped with an electronic memory, the system can store a maximum of 5,120 full frames or a tops of 81,920 pictures for instant replay. Later, the stored images can be downloaded to standard videotape for future reference. Kodak priced the motion analyzer from $136,300.

The first product line introduced in Japan since EASTMAN KODAK CO. bought IMATION CORP.'s medical imaging business last December is the KODAK DRYVIEW family of laser imaging systems for medical films. The five models making up the line can be configured to print images directly from almost any imaging modality. Alternatively, the modality images can be converted to the DICOM format and sent over a network for fast, affordable printing. The KODAK DRYVIEW Laser Imagers also automate the quality-control process.

In a further realignment of its business in Japan (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 22), the GE Medical Systems unit of GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. reportedly will give SUMITOMO HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. the rights to make and market its compact, high-speed accelerators for positron emission tomography diagnostic imaging systems. SHI, which is a leading maker of accelerators, also will sell equipment supplied by GE Medical Systems for preparing agents that hospitals use for diagnostic imaging. The pending Japanese partner anticipates that the arrangement will triple its PET-related sales to $26.6 million a year. What effect the relationship with SHI will have on the business of GE-YOKOGAWA MEDICAL SYSTEMS, LTD., the marketer of GE Medical Systems' diagnostic equipment, is not clear.

THERMO CARDIOSYSTEMS INC. — the developer of the first FDA-approved implantable heart-assist system designed to allow heart-transplant candidates to return home while waiting for a donor heart — has given NISSHO CORP. marketing rights to the electric HeartMate left-ventricular-assist system. Now that surgeons in Japan have started to perform organ transplants, Nissho expects a market to develop for the Woburn, Massachusetts manufacturer's product. The big maker of medical consumables could begin clinical trials of the HeartMate before yearend. It aims to import and market it within a year or two.

The Health and Welfare Ministry cleared for commercial release MEDTRONIC, INC.'s GFX2 coronary stent system for use in the treatment of coronary artery disease. The product features several improvements over its predecessor, the GFX. .....MHW also approved for use SPINAL CONCEPTS, INC.'s titanium BacFix thoracolumbar spinal fixation system, which provides temporary stability to the thoracic, thoracolumbar or lumberspine from T1 to S1. The Austin, Texas company says that its system has several advantages over typical thoracolumbar spinal systems, headed by the elimination of any intraoperative assembly. KOTOBUKI IKA SHOJI CO., LTD., an Osaka-based distributor of orthopedic implants, will market BacFix.

Alameda, California-based INSITE VISION INC. gave exclusive manufacturing and marketing rights to its AquaSite sustained-release dry-eye treatment to SSP CO., LTD. The Tokyo pharmaceutical company expects production to begin by early 2000. InSite sees Japan as a key market for its particular area of expertise: genetically based glaucoma diagnostics and treatment.

The world's number-two provider of integrated dialysis services for people suffering from chronic kidney failure is moving into the Japanese market. As a first step, TOTAL RENAL CARE HOLDINGS, INC., which owns and operates freestanding kidney dialysis centers and home peritoneal dialysis programs across the United States as well as in some other countries and provides acute hemodialysis services to patients at some 330 hospitals, has set up a Tokyo subsidiary and initiated discussions with a number of hospitals about taking over their dialysis operations. More immediately, the Torrance, California company hopes by yearend to have two of its own dialysis centers functioning. Total Renal Care reportedly is the first foreign company to attempt to provide medical services in Japan.

A second American company has set its sights on Japan's domestically controlled syringe market, although the specific targets of the two differ. BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC.'s subsidiary is going after 10 percent of sales of syringe pumps, which deliver precise amounts of infusions to patients. The Deerfield, Illinois company's initial entry is the Auto Syringe AS50 Infusion Pump. Able to deliver intravenous solutions, drug solutions and whole or packed red blood cells in neonatal, anesthesiology and critical-care situations, the pump accepts syringe sizes ranging from 1 milliliter to 60 mL. The AS50 costs $3,500. For its part, BECTON DICKINSON AND CO. is trying to create a demand for prefillable syringes (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 22).

An exchange rate of ¥113=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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