ITOCHU Announces Capital and Business Alliance with iLAC, a Whole Genome Analysis Start-Up

January 7, 2020

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has formed a capital and business alliance with iLAC Co. Ltd. (headquartered in Tsukuba, Ibaraki; Taka-Aki Sato, President & CEO; hereinafter “iLAC”) which is developing a whole genome analysis business.

Currently whole genome analysis is becoming increasingly important in precision medicine,*1 which uses analysis to select optimal medical treatments tailored to individual patients. Optimal preventive medical care is expected through the prediction and preclinical diagnosis of diseases by analyzing genome information. Even after the onset of illness, whole genome analysis realizes efficient medical care to predict optimal treatment and medication for individuals. The global market for the next generation diagnosis and examination including whole genome analysis is expanding rapidly, and it is expected to grow to 1.5 trillion yen by 2025 (a growth rate of 3.6 times each year). Given that European countries and the United States are moving forward with whole genome analysis ahead of other countries, it is necessary to cultivate the ability to sequence the whole genome in Japan at high speeds and with a high degree of accuracy.

iLAC is the only whole genome analysis start-up that is able to conduct an omics analysis, including metabolic products*2, by operating Next-Generation Sequencer*3 that sequences the genome of individuals at high speeds, the most efficiently, and on the largest scale in Japan. iLAC aims to provide better medical care by realizing precision medicine through the whole genome analysis business.

ITOCHU will consider the creation of the first platform for whole genome analysis in Japan jointly with iLAC through the capital and business alliance. In addition, ITOCHU will seek to industrialize genome-related businesses such as support for drug discovery by linking data with pharmaceutical companies and the preventive healthcare business combined with medical examination data, taking advantage of the open network of the ITOCHU Group.

ITOCHU has set a core policy of “Evolution of business model with new technologists” in its Medium-Term Management Plan, Brand-new Deal 2020 Becoming a Next-Generation Merchant, and the capital and business alliance with iLAC matches this policy. Positioning healthcare as a focus area, ITOCHU will continue to promote active business development to contribute to a society where better medical care will be provided.

iLAC Co. Ltd.

Location Tsukuba, Ibaraki
Representative Taka-Aki Sato
Established August 2012 (start-up originating from University of Tsukuba)
Business Research and development related to genome sequencing
  • *1Precision medicine is a medical model that customizes healthcare, with medical decisions, treatments, practices, or products being tailored to the individual patient.
  • *2The omics analysis including metabolic products is the analysis of metabolic products generated by the metabolism together with genome information and other information (protein and clinical information). It is believed to lead to more accurate and efficient analysis.
  • *3Next-Generation Sequencer is a machine able to sequence the base pairs of human genes at high speeds.