Joint Establishment of Marketing Company with View to Developing Medical Robots

Oct. 21, 2013

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (HQ: Kobe, Japan; President: Shigeru Murayama; hereinafter, “Kawasaki”) and Sysmex Corporation (HQ: Kobe, Japan; Chairman and CEO: Hisashi Ietsugu; hereinafter, “Sysmex”) have jointly established Medicaroid Corporation (HQ: Kobe, Japan; President: Yasuhiko Hashimoto, hereinafter, “Medicaroid”) to conduct market research with a view to the development, manufacture and sales of medical robots*1.

In keeping with expectations that global demand for medical robots will increase, Medicaroid will put in place systems with a view toward their future development, manufacture and sale.

The new company will leverage the strengths of its two investors: Kawasaki, which has technological expertise in industrial robots, and Sysmex, which possesses testing and diagnostic technologies, as well as a broad-ranging network in the medical field. Taking advantage of these capabilities, Medicaroid will reinforce marketing activities as it contributes to the development of the global medical industry.

1. Background

Japan and other advanced countries are seeing an increased prevalence of lifestyle diseases*2 in line with the rapid aging of their populations. Soaring medical costs accompanying this rise represents a growing societal problem. In addition, medical demand is increasing and growing more diverse, owing to rising interest in preventive medicine and personalized medicine*3. Against this backdrop, robots are being seen as potentially contributing to the selection of treatment methods that are optimal for, and place a reduced burden, on the patient, as well as a way of holding down medical costs for society as a whole, minimizing treatment through the early detection of illness and the use of minimally invasive treatment*4 to encourage early recovery.

The Japanese government has designated medical instruments as a strategic industry for cultivation and intends for this field to be a pillar of Japan’s economic resurgence. The government aims to reinforce the domestic medical instruments industry, which is currently experiencing an unfavorable balance of trade. In the near future, the government plans to promote the development of this business in emerging markets as their populations age. Robots are expected to play a growing role in these activities.

In fiscal 2012, Kawasaki and Sysmex set up a medical robot study group to consider roadblocks along the path to commercializing medical robots. As a result of this study, the two companies have decided to pool their technologies and sales networks to develop this business in Japan and overseas, believing that they can develop an internationally competitive business.

2. Overview

In October 2013, Medicaroid commenced marketing activities with a view to the development of medical robots.

The development, manufacture and sale of medical robots involve clinical studies*5 including clinical trials*6, regulatory approval, the creation of a sales network and other major investments, as well as long-term commercialization, and product planning is vital. Medicaroid is tasked with conducting optimal product planning that takes into account medical trends and matches clinical needs. The company will also promote the development of systems that take into account future sales on a global scale from the product planning stage.

To achieve these objectives, Medicaroid will combine robotics technologies founded on Kawasaki’s manufacturing prowess, with Sysmex’s technologies and expertise in the fields of testing and diagnostics, as well as its global medical network.

These activities will be conducted in Kobe, which is being promoted as a key city for leading-edge healthcare technology (Port Island), with collaboration among healthcare professionals at university hospitals and other institutions, companies and governmental organizations. At the same time, the company will promote efficient marketing activities with the aim of developing Japan make medical robots that will be competitive on a global stage.

3. Medicaroid’s Line of Business

Medicaroid will conduct marketing activities that take into account the needs of healthcare professionals. At the same time, the new company will conduct product planning that considers the possibility of multifaceted commercialization, as well as future medical trends. The company will also promote collaboration in many areas leading to commercialization, including university hospitals and other healthcare institutions, companies that possess specialized technology and government agencies with which the company can discuss  regulatory approvals.

In addition, Medicaroid will draft business plans and work with Kawasaki and Sysmex on product development, manufacturing, sales and the establishment of service structures.

4. Outlook

The company commenced operations in October 2013 in an office located in the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster (Port Island). Until fiscal 2014, the company will concentrate on medical robot marketing and product planning. In addition, the company will cultivate an environment that encourages collaboration among companies, government agencies and academia as an open platform. In fiscal 2015, Medicaroid will gradually transition to development, manufacturing, sales and services. The company aims to generate sales of ¥100 billion by 2030.

Overview of Medicaroid
Name: Medicaroid Corporation
Location: Kobe International Business Center 503, 5-5-2 Minatojima Minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe
Established: August 30, 2013
Capital: ¥10 million
Equity ownership: Kawasaki, 50%
Sysmex, 50%
President: Yasuhiko Hashimoto (Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.)
Vice President: Kaoru Asano (Sysmex Corporation)
Directors and employees: 11
Lines of business: Marketing related to the commercialization of medical robots


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