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March 29, 2005

Canon eyes biotech industry with commercialized DNA chips

In an effort to add more variety to its product range, Japanese office equipment and camera maker Canon has revealed plans to commercialize DNA chips for medical diagnosis using the ink-jet technology in its printers.

By CBR Staff Writer

The firm is expected to demonstrate to its shareholders how it is able to mass produce DNA chips that utilize the bubble-jet technology employed in its printers at a lower cost than existing methods.

This, reports suggest, will allow DNA chips to be exploited in cancer and diabetes diagnosis as well as its current, rather limited use in basic biological and chemical research.

This latest move by Canon, which recently announced plans to develop flat-panel displays in a further attempt to find new sources of revenue from the flat-television market, has been seen by observers as an indication that demand for DNA chips is likely to grow as healthcare and pharmaceutical institutions work to identify genes associated with certain diseases and produce genome-based drugs signals.

Santa Clara, California-based Affymetrix has already exploited the industry but, as media speculation has pointed out, other companies including Kirin Brewery, Takara Holdings, Toshiba and Toppan Printing are also jumping on the DNA chip bandwagon.

Canon’s DNA chips are made up of genetic materials mounted on a surface and aim to enable the comparison of genetic material with fragments of DNA.

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