Tech giants are increasingly stepping up efforts in the science industry. After Google formed a company last year that focuses on tackling aging and other associated diseases, Sony upped its commitment to breakthrough medicine by announcing a joint venture focused on advancing medical research using genetics in Japan.
Now Japanese gaming giant DeNA has announced the formation of DeNA Life Science, a wholly-owned subsidiary focused on healthcare services. It will premiere a project known as Mycode, a genetic testing service available first for consumers in Japan. The service is scheduled to launch in late July. More details including pricing will be revealed “soon,” the company says.
Mycode stems from a joint research project conducted by DeNA and the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo, which focuses on developing “Japanese-specific disease risk prediction algorithms required for providing a highly reliable and accurate genetic testing service.”
UPDATE: DeNA has revealed that the direct-to-consumer genetic testing service will be available in Japan in mid-August. Following that, users can register for Mycode online and mail their samples to DeNA Life Science’s lab, which will be analyzed for genetic markers that indicate risks for 40 types of cancer, 25 types of lifestyle diseases, 87 types of other diseases and 131 physical predisposition factors.
The all-in-one service covering all 283 test items will cost 29,800 yen ($293), while the test for 100 selected items will be 19,800 yen ($195) and another one for 35 items will cost 9,800 yen ($96).
There are plans to ultimately bring the concept of Mycode worldwide. Tomoko Namba, a board member and founder of DeNA who is in charge of the company’s new healthcare business, says:
Mycode is our first step in sharing the benefits of the DeNA and IMSUT joint research project to the public…
Based on careful examination of ethical, legal and social issues, DeNA hopes to establish Mycode as an exemplary genetic testing service in Japan with the potential to become the global standard.
It definitely faces competition though. The new service is reminiscent of companies including 23andme, which provides ancestry-related genetic reports and data.
Headline image via DeNA