Japanese electronics giant Sony, recently struggling in sales and profits because of its shrinking share of the TV market and the industry-wide slump in PC sales, is looking to break into new markets and sectors to find a catalyst for its business. With that in mind, Sony is venturing into genomics – a branch of genetics involved with the sequencing, assembly, and the analysis of the human genome, DNA, among others – where it could possibly find new opportunities for growth in medicine and drug research.
Sony is looking to enter the relatively untapped genomics sector by setting up a company called P5 and teaming up with health IT firms M3 Inc. and Illumina, the latter owning a minority stake in the venture. Illumina will be providing the genome sequencing equipment for the new business, and Sony hopes it can find new markets and growth by offering genome analysis services to Japanese research institutes and businesses. Another open opportunity in this venture will be to focus on combining genome data with other sources of medical information to boost research. Healthcare outfits like Geisinger Health Systems has been working in this area in the United States and Great Britain, but Sony is looking to take the lead in Japan. If successful, P5 would be an important part of Sony’s medical unit. “We are positioning the medical business as one of our key growth pillars,” Sony EVP Tadashi Saito said in a statement.
For Illumina, his venture is just part of its major efforts and attempts to take a big slice, if not total control, of the sequencing market. It is already a major player in the U.K. genomics sector and recently revamped its product line to cover low-, mid- and high-throughput sequencing. According to Illumina, these markets where it currently operates should see growth and would probably be worth around US$20 billion in the future.
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