Bridges spoke with Kentaro Yoshida, country general manager for bioMérieux Japan, on the company’s activities and pandemic innovations.

Bridges: Is Japan a unique market for bioMérieux?

Kentaro Yoshida, Country General Manager bioMérieux Japan | © BIOMÉRIEUX
Kentaro Yoshida,
Country General Manager
bioMérieux Japan | © BIOMÉRIEUX

Yoshida: As a world leader in the field of in vitro diag­nostics for over 55 years, bioMérieux is today present in 44 countries and serves over 160 countries with the support of a large network of distributors.

The company provides diagnostic solutions (systems, reagents, software and services) to improve patient health and ensure consumer safety. Our products are primarily used for diagnosing infectious diseases and detecting microorganisms in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.

In Japan, bioMérieux is dedicated to accelerating our new product registration while respecting the unique Japanese medical system. As a local company, bioMérieux Japan is a stable and professional organization founded on our global initiatives, such as the combat against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and sepsis.

How has the pandemic impacted bioMérieux Japan and what steps are you taking to grow the business?

Concerning the pandemic, bioMérieux’s strategy to fight COVID-19 illustrates our commitment to serve public health. We decided during the early onset of the epidemic to start work on the development of diagnostic tests for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease. In this global health crisis of unprecedented proportions, bioMérieux’s strategy to help governments and health care professionals fight the spread of COVID-19 is based on the development of complementary molecular and immunoassay tests and our expertise in automated nucleic acid extraction.

We introduced syndromic testing (the symptom-driven broad grouping of pathogens in one rapid test) with the multiplex PCR (polymerase chain reaction) system “FilmArray.”

Our Respiratory Panel includes the SARS-CoV-2 virus in addition to the 21 other common respiratory pathogens which our test is able to detect in approximately 45 minutes.

What innovations can we expect from 2021 to 2022?

We are focused on our ability to deliver more rapid test results for wider disease coverage. For the industrial market, we are playing an important role in ensuring consumer safety and product quality. PCR solutions have been developed for food pathogen detection in addition to innovative endotoxin detection assays based on recombinant horseshoe crab factor C for the pharmaceutical market.

As a major global leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, bioMérieux Japan is not only providing solutions, but also raising awareness of AMR by producing and distributing educational materials.

What does the future hold for bioMérieux Japan?

We currently employ over 130 people in Japan and business continues to be particularly strong in the Japanese market through our “BioFire” range.

We became a 100%, fully owned and dedicated local subsidiary of bioMérieux SA in 2017. We intend to continue investing in the right resources to develop our business in Japan, one of the most important markets in the world.