IWATA, September 28, 2023
- Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (Tokyo: 7272) announced today that the Company has established Tuning Fork Bio Inc. in Delaware, USA (CEO: HIKICHI, Yuichi), which will analyze the antibodies in blood to better visualize people's health conditions through its antibody profiling business. The main target markets for this new company are the U.S. and Japan. Using Tuning Fork Bio's antibody analysis technology and expertise, antibodies--a type of protein--that manifest for specific diseases are selected and compared with a patient's own antibodies in order to analyze their current health condition, i.e., antibody profiling. This information will bring benefits to health checkups conducted by medical institutions, help in selecting the best drugs for patients, and aid in new drug research by pharmaceutical companies.
Tuning Fork Bio will launch its business in collaboration with the Translational Research Center (hereinafter, "TR Center") at Fukushima Medical University. The TR Center has developed protein microarrays utilizing technology that transfers proteins onto glass slides at high densities (more than 10,000 types). By measuring the binding state of proteins (antigens) on the microarray with the antibodies in the blood, it is possible to comprehensively search for the antibodies an individual has in their body. Exceeding 20,000 types in total, the number of protein samples the TR Center has prepared is among the highest in the world (according to Yamaha Motor research), and includes not only human proteins but also proteins from viruses and bacteria.
Tuning Fork Bio analyzes protein microarray data using proprietary bioinformatics technology to select antibodies suitable for use as indicators, i.e., biomarkers, for assessing health conditions, diagnoses, etc., and constructs systems applicable for performing diagnoses.
By comparing an individual's antibodies with data when sick and data when healthy, we can make health risks easier to perceive. Tuning Fork Bio aims to offer diagnostic services aiding more positive life planning for people by helping prevent the onset of sickness and facilitating the selection of medications that best fit each individual's conditions.
To date, Yamaha Motor's medical and healthcare business has centered on contributing to improving the efficiency of cell research with its CELL HANDLER(TM), a cell picking and imaging system that adapts our industrial robot technology. Tuning Fork Bio was established from the partnership that formed with Fukushima Medical University, which was the first place that took delivery of the CELL HANDLER(TM). The work Tuning Fork Bio will be starting is a trial in bringing the open innovation style we have conceived collaboratively with the university to the world as a business. Yamaha Motor holds a 99% stake in Tuning Fork Bio and its corporate registration in the U.S. was completed in May 2023. With the U.S. operation as the headquarters, Yamaha Motor also launched a Japanese subsidiary in July to serve as a research and development base.
In the Medium-Term Management Plan (2022-2024) announced in February 2022, Yamaha Motor designated several "New Businesses" and "Growth Businesses" as "Strategic Business Fields." As part of managing its business portfolio, the Company will actively allocate management resources to these businesses in order to develop them into future core businesses. In this context, the Company has positioned the medical and healthcare field as one of its strategic business fields and is aiming to further strengthen its structures to transform this into a future core business as well as to create demand and expand the scale of operations.
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