Nihon Keizai Shimbun (NIKKEI)

Samstag, 11. März 2006
(English Translation)

HUMANIX, VB of Hiroshima University
Sales Agreement with a Swiss Company
Protein mass analyzers support new drug discovery at universities and pharmaceutical companies in Japan


(Picture: the devices sold by HUMANIX)

 A spin-off company of Hiroshima University, HUMANIX (Hiroshima City, President: Prof. Tsutomu Masujima of Hiroshima University Graduate School) will conclude an agreement with a Swiss venture to distribute in Japan the protein mass analyzing device developed by this Swiss company. This device is expected to contribute to diagnoses and discovery of new drugs. HUMANIX will sell this device to universities and pharmaceutical companies while it accumulates know-how to use this device. The know-how will be used for improving the device and expanding its applications.

The Swiss company is CovalX established by Dr Alexis Nazabal and Dr Ryan Wenzel. HUMANIX sells the equipment attached to existing MALDI-ToF as well as reagents and other products. The presidents of the two companies will sign the sales contract at the Hiroshima prefectural government.

MALDI-ToF is a mass spectrometer that uses a laser to ionize samples such as blood serum and make the samples fly between the electrodes, and by measuring the speed, it measures the mass of the molecules. By using the new attachment and the reagents, it will be possible to measure the mass of complex molecules, which was impossible to be measured by conventional methods. This method is expected to have a wide range of applications such as drug discovery.

HUMANIX will accumulate know-how through giving instructions to the customers on how to use the device, and the know-how fed back to CovalX will be used for developing and improving the device. The price of the retrofit device is about six million yen.

HUMANX was founded in 2004 by Prof. Tsutomu Masujima of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of Hiroshima University for developing bio analysis equipment and other devices. He is one of the key members of the university’s Hiroshima Medical Venture Consortium (HMVC), which promotes industry-academia collaboration, and through the industrial exchange project with Switzerland promoted by HMVC and the Hiroshima prefectural government, Prof. Masujima has established a relationship with CovalX.

In Switzerland, there are many companies that have developed unique technologies to overcome the hollowing out of industries. The prefectural government is promoting exchanges between these Swiss companies and the companies in Hiroshima Prefecture in the fields of medical equipment, automotive parts and environmental technologies.