Rise in diabetes in Asia fuels demand for tests
Greater need for diagnostics in India, Southeast Asia along with prosperity
TOKYO -- Japanese manufacturers of diagnostic tests for diabetes and other illnesses are ramping up operations in the rest of Asia, as they hope to catch up with global players by tapping into emerging markets.
In Southeast Asia, CMIC Holdings is launching a diabetes diagnostics business geared toward the affluent. The company recently received regulatory approval for its diabetes tests in the Philippines and Vietnam. CMIC will offer a service that can predict kidney disease, based on artificial intelligence that analyzes data collected at hospitals using its tests.
As incomes rise in emerging nations, so are the number of diabetes patients. In Vietnam alone, there are an estimated 2 million diabetics. Hospitals often struggle to keep up with the growing number of patients due to limited types of tests as well as a shortage of technicians to operate equipment. CMIC believes that treatment efficiency could be improved by narrowing its focus on potential patients.
Konoike Transport, meanwhile, is partnering with Tokyo-based J-VPD to launch a clinical testing business in India. Konoike will fly blood and tissue samples of patients to Japan, where partner companies will test for more than 1,000 indicators, including tumor markers. Results are delivered in about three days.
The partners will also train laboratory technicians in India and offer trainees opportunities to study in Japan.
According to Fuji Keizai, a Tokyo-based research firm, the global market for clinical laboratory testing is estimated to grow by 13% from 2015 figures to $70.4 billion in 2020. Asian markets outside of Japan are expected to drive the market's growth, as developed nations will mainly see replacement demand.
Meanwhile, the global market is dominated by such major players as Switzerland's F. Hoffmann-La Roche and U.S.-based Abbott Laboratories. Japanese companies aim to catch up to them by unearthing new demand.