Konica Minolta’s Medical Groups to Provide COVID-19 Testing

Konica Minolta of Tokyo, Japan, reported today that its medical business, Ambry Genetics, is focusing on early diagnosis of the COVID-19 coronavirus and is preparing for the launch of launch of PCR testing in the United States.

Ambry Genetics, which Konica Minolta purchased in 2017 for $1 billion and is part of Konica Minolta Precision Medicine (KMPM), has been approached by various organizations, including the state of California, to provide COVID-19 testing for essential frontline employees and patients. Ambry is said to be quickly transitioning its lab to be COVID-19 ready.

Kiyotaka Fujii, president of Konica Minolta Global Healthcare and Chairman and CEO of KMPM, explained: “Our business is built on innovation and data science, enhanced through best-in-class clinical and pharmaceutical services delivered on a global network. Our 65,000-foot ‘superlab; testing facility and established RNA isolation workflows allow us to easily pivot to COVID-19 testing.

Through Ambry’s CARE Program (Comprehensive, Assessment, Risk, and Education), a software platform coupled with a virtual assistant screener, KMPM will be able to provide a population-screening mechanism to assist employers and clinicians who wish to provide rapid and scalable testing. Ultimately, the system will protect individuals from unknowingly spreading the virus.

KMPM is in the process of implementing an FDA-approved viral-detection test that will be available in a few weeks, allowing it to process several thousands of samples a week. Simultaneously, KMPM is working with academic and corporate partners to evaluate technologies that can offer scalable antibody-based detection tests.

Clinical Trials of Therapeutic Drugs

The Boston, U.S.-based Invicro, also a Konica Minolta company, and which is said said to play an important role with its drug discovery support business in KMPM, will also participate in a major pharmaceutical company’s clinical trial on COVID-19.

Invicro consists of a group of scientists who are working closely with global pharmaceutical companies to support drug discovery centered on image analysis. Invicro will leverage its track record in supporting the discovery of drugs for the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and cancers, to demonstrate its capabilities in clinical trials for new coronaviral treatments.

Konica Minolta also noted that it’s continuing to encourage its employees in Japan to work remotely at home.

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