Full-scale Entry into GH Market Special Task Force for Brand Reinforcement

15. Mai 2007

In late May, HORIBA, Ltd. will commence sale in Japan of Pentra DX 120 (LC-6011 type), its highest-grade blood analyzer for general hospital (GH) use, capable of high-speed rocessing of up to 120 samples per hour.

The new large product, manufactured by HORIBA ABX, can even measure immature blood cells, providing detailed information essential for diagnosis of hematological diseases and monitoring of treatment efficacy, thereby responding to the needs of test centers of large-scale hospitals.

In 1987, HORIBA won the largest market share of medical analyzers for GP use, thanks to its unique strategy of developing compact models. Now, launching a high-grade GH-use product, HORIBA will become one of the Japanese manufacturers with a full product lineup of blood analyzers, more closely and better satisfying customer needs. HORIBA's target is a double increase in its blood analyzer sales, to 6.2 billion yen during the 3-year period between now and 2010.

<Significance and purposes of this new product launch>

This year marks the 30th anniversary of HORIBA’s medical equipment business, which started mainly with blood electrolyte analyzers. We have since created a new market by developing, in collaboration with the French blood cell counter manufacturer HORIBA ABX (which joined the HORIBA Group in 1996), completely new products, such as simplified and compact equipment usable in GP or small clinic consultation rooms. HORIBA's share of the GP/small clinic market has expanded to over 30%. With this success as a jumping board, HORIBA has continued to develop diagnostic equipment truly needed in the clinical field. In April 2007, we launched medium-sized equipment that enhances testing efficiency through intra-hospital network functions and automatic re-measuring. Now, HORIBA is about to complete its full-range product lineup with the upcoming launch of a large-sized blood analyzer capable of speedy and advanced testing (including immature cells) of large quantities of samples for large hospitals. At the same time, since larger analyzers have greater processing capacity and consume more test reagents than smaller ones, the new product is also expected to improve the company’s profitability.

For this new product launch, HORIBA will focus its efforts on brand reinforcement in the large-model market of products for large hospitals and test centers, as we have done in our main arena, the small-model market for GPs, so that HORIBA will be recognized as the brand for blood analyzers small and large.

For this purpose, last autumn the Pentra Business Promotion Section was established within the Medical Systems Division of the corresponding product group, as a special task force directly charged with diffusing the Group’s HORIBA ABX products in Japan (with 42 staff members). This task force will carry out 24-hour promotion of the new large-sized blood analyzer, existing small- and medium-sized analyzers, biochemical equipment newly introduced by HORIBA ABX and sales of other HORIBA ABX products in Japan.

The new launch signifies HORIBA's full-scale entry into the crucial large-size analyzer market, which can determine the brand’s power. This move is being made by fully employing the technological expertise of HORIBA ABX as a specialized manufacturer of blood cell counters, and HORIBA’s reliability as a Japanese measuring instrument manufacturer.

<Blood cell counter market and the upcoming new product>

Blood cell counters are used in a wide variety of medical tests, counting blood components such as red blood cells, white blood cells or thrombocytes, or measuring hemoglobin concentration. Uses range from medical checkups or screenings in small clinics to diagnosis of hematological diseases and treatment monitoring in large hospitals. Recent advances in medical treatment have required the medical profession to provide diagnostic support by measuring immature blood cells, which are in the process of development and are not normally found in blood.

Pentra DX 120, developed by HORIBA’s French affiliate company HORIBA ABX, can qualitatively and quantitatively measure immature blood cells arranged by origin, thereby providing useful information for the diagnosis of various diseases and the monitoring of treatment efficacy. This product, also expected to have applications in stem cell transplantation for hematological patients, will be launched in late May.

<Major features>

• Qualitative and quantitative analyses of immature blood cells by origin
Immature blood cell measurement items: IMM (immature monocyte % and count), IMG (immature granulocyte % and count), IML (immature lymphocyte % and count), erythroblast, reticulocyte

• Compatible with various types of medical laboratory information processing systems, improved network forming functions