National / Science & Health

Japan's first whole genome-sequencing service for 'precision medicine' eyed for June launch

JIJI

Japan’s first whole genome-sequencing service for public use will be launched as early as June.

The service will be offered by iLAC Inc., a medical startup originating at the University of Tsukuba, in cooperation with trading house Itochu Corp. The two are in a capital and business alliance, it was learned Friday.

They hope to create a path for “precision medicine,” an emerging approach to medical care that uses genetic and other data.

The startup, based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, is headed by Takaaki Sato, a professor at the University of Tsukuba and fellow at precision equipment maker Shimadzu Corp.

Using data collected through the new service, iLAC and Itochu plan to create a database containing the whole genome of the Japanese people. They hope to start operating the database by the end of the year.

“A high-precision and safe database of genome information is needed” for drug development and disease prevention, Sato said.

The database is expected to be available for use by research institutions, pharmaceutical companies, university hospitals and others.

Last December, the health ministry revealed a plan to sequence the whole genome of around 92,000 patients with cancer and other intractable diseases in three years on a trial basis.

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