Since its establishment as Japan Microarray Consortium in 2007, JMAC has been promoting activities aimed at industrializing of ‘biochip’ as a bio-industry group. Initially, we focused on biochips, especially on DNA Chips as JMAC’s main activity. The background to the formation of the bio-industry group is the long history of Japan’s having fallen behind Europe and the United States in the field of bio-related businesses.
Biochip is a complex industry that involves not only biotechnology but also various elemental technologies such as electronic devices and chemical materials, and it was thought that Japan had a good chance of winning. As a result, many companies participated in JMAC and started activities with a strong desire to grow the biochip business significantly.
At that time, the core of JMAC’s activities was international standardization, industrial promotion of the biochip business, and market creation. Regarding standardization, with the support of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, we proposed a draft standard for microarrays to ISO in 2010. In 2013, Japan led the publication of ISO 16578, the world’s first international standard for microarrays.
Regarding the promotion of the biochip business, we have been developing applications in a wide range of fields such as medical care, food, and the environment. Through those activities, collaboration between companies with the same vector direction has been actively carried out.
A major feature of JMAC is the diversity of member companies. A wide range of companies such as materials, reagents, devices, equipment, contract services, and consultants are active as members. Collaboration between companies in different fields is the driving force for creating new business opportunities.
JMAC is now renamed as the Japan bio-Measurement and Analysis Consortium and aims to promote the industrialization of a wider range of biotechnology. International standardization activities are also diverse, and we are beginning to take on the challenge of standardization activities in new fields such as synthetic nucleic acids, gene databases, multiplex genetic testing, iPS cells and regenerative medicine, as well as biochips. International standardization is an important strategy for Japan to become the world leader in the bio-industry.
Let’s work together within JMAC to promote innovation that opens up new possibilities for the bio-industry and creates big industries.
Nobuhiro Gemma, Ph.D. (Ricoh Company, Ltd.)
Chairman of Japan bio Measurement & Analysis Consortium