Konica Minolta responds to COVID-19 with initiatives to support front-line employees and professionals
California-based Ambry Genetics to introduce PCR testing in response to requests from the state governments and others
April 17, 2020
(Tokyo: April 17, 2020) Konica Minolta, Inc. (Konica Minolta) extends its sincere condolences to those who passed away in the spread of the novel coronavirus worldwide, expresses heartfelt sympathy of the whole company to the affected people and prays for swift recovery. The company also expresses its sincere respect to the governments and local communities that work on the frontline to prevent the spread of infections, as well as healthcare professionals who are dedicated to diagnosing and treating people through the difficult time.
Konica Minolta and its group companies are committed to providing support to professionals working on the front lines to deal with COVID-19, giving top priority to health, safety, and security. To prevent the spread of infection and provide support to the healthcare community, Konica Minolta has been working a variety of measures that make use of the technologies and know-how it has fostered in its companywide activities, including the healthcare business centered on early diagnosis, and will continue implementing these measures in flexible and agile manners.
At the same time, Konica Minolta will continue to provide support that contributes to larger society, now and in the future, while responding to the various instructions and directives that are rapidly advancing on global basis to prevent the spread of explosive infections and to ensure local healthcare systems.
Efforts in progress: Supporting Healthcare Professionals and Essential Workers
Prepare for launch of PCR testing in the U.S.
Ambry Genetics®, part of Konica Minolta Precision Medicine, Inc. (KMPM), a known innovator in the laboratory testing industry has been approached by various organizations, including the state government of California, to provide COVID-19 testing for essential frontline employees and patients. In response to these important requests from the community, Ambry is quickly shifting their lab to be COVID-19 ready.
“Our business is built on innovation and data science, enhanced through best-in-class Clinical and Pharmaceutical services delivered on a global network. Our 65,000 ft2 “superlab” testing facility and established RNA isolation workflows allow us to easily pivot to COVID-19 testing,” says Kiyotaka Fujii, President of Konica Minolta Global Healthcare and Chairman & CEO of KMPM. Through Ambry’s CARE Program™ (Comprehensive, Assessment, Risk, and Education), a unique software platform coupled with a virtual assistant screener, KMPM will be able to appropriately provide a population screening mechanism to assist employers and clinicians who wish to provide rapid and scalable testing. Ultimately, the system will protect individuals from unknowingly spreading the virus.
KMPM is in the process of implementing an FDA approved viral detection test that will be available in a few weeks, allowing them to process several thousands of samples a week. Simultaneously, they are working with leading academic and corporate partners to evaluate technologies that can offer scalable antibody-based detection tests.
Our mission at KMPM is to place people and safety first, and our COVID-19 testing provides a solution for many organizations to manage risk during these fast-changing times. We care about what happens to real people, their families, and the people they love. We remain dedicated to providing employers and clinicians with deeper knowledge and fresh insights, so together they can make informed healthcare decisions.
Support for clinical trials of therapeutic drugs by pharmaceutical companies
The Boston, U.S.-based Invicro LLC (Invicro), which plays an important role with its drug discovery support business in KMPM, is to participate in a major pharmaceutical company's clinical trial on COVID-19. Invicro is a group of scientists with outstanding expertise and intelligence, working closely with global pharmaceutical companies to support drug discovery centered on image analysis. Invicro will leverage its track record in supporting the discovery of drugs for the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, and cancers to demonstrate its capabilities in clinical trials for new coronaviral treatments now that speedy development is needed.
Konica Minolta’s Response to COVID-19
Konica Minolta place top priority on ensuring the health and safety of the people working in the Group, their families, customers, business partners, and local communities. In Japan, while making more active use of stay-at-home working, the company defined jobs that need employees to work on site for business continuity and is narrowing down the number of employees who work in the company facilities. Commuting off-peak hours and driving to and from work are helping the employees avoid busy transportation.
In the company facilities in Japan, employees abide by the basic rules to prevent infection expansion in performing their duties on site, including avoiding close contact, closed space and gathering of a lot of people, as well as wearing masks and washing hands frequently.
Further supporting employees working from home in Japan, the company has been providing detailed assistance in IT to maintain their good performance. The know-how earned from these employee support will be utilized in assisting customers of the Group.