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Toshiba to gather genetic info from thousands of its Japanese staff

Tuesday 10 September 2019 08:46 AM

Toshiba Corp
Toshiba Corp

Toshiba Corp. plans to collect genetic data from 10,000 of its Japanese employees to develop a new business model based on gene-analysis technology specifically tailored to Japanese people.

The company has asked about 80,000 employees for their consent to let it access their genetic information.

“The ultimate goal is to be able to propose therapies and diets suitable to each individual, covering all Japanese,” said Minoru Yonezawa, senior manager of Toshiba’s New Business Development Office.

After an accounting scandal and a huge loss in its nuclear plant business, Toshiba must develop a new pillar business as quickly as possible.

The firm, which has sold its core semiconductor chip and health-care departments, sees its precision medical services, including the Japonica Array genotyping tool, as its “new high-growth sector” for fiscal 2024 and beyond.

Genetic data from hundreds of thousands of individuals is estimated to be needed to commercialize the new service using Japonica Array, which Toshiba created with Tohoku University.