Hitachi Chemical Research Center

Overview

Hitachi Chemical Research Center, Inc. (HCR), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Chemical Company, is a research and development company performing cutting edge research in the life sciences field. Utilizing their expertise in mRNA research, HCR scientists are developing new diagnostic tools to determine drug efficacy, help with genetic testing and quickly detect food borne pathogens (2).

They engage in the creation and commercialization of products for gene expression and functional genomics analysis. The company’s products include mRNA preparation for quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction directed at selected genes. It offers mRNA express kit, custom express kit, reagents for suspension cell mRNA isolation, reagents for solution phase cDNA synthesis, and automation tools (3). In addition, HCR’s nanotechnology group develops chemical and electrochemical technologies and materials designed to improve the health and welfare of people around the world (2).

The research center is based in Irvine, California and Hitachi Company is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan (3).

Facilities and Research Initiatives

The Hitachi Chemical Research Center’s technology is used by researchers and screeners to isolate mRNA from cell culture and tissue sources (3).  Recently the Hitachi Research Center has developed an assay system called the Hem(A)+ System.  This system can extract and quantify leukocyte-derived mRNA from a very small amount of whole blood (0.05 mL). It employs filtration to capture leukocyte prior to extraction and purification of mRNA. This eliminates interference by a large amount of red blood cells in whole blood, and enables sensitive detection of the changes in mRNA levels. Also, the system adopts a 96-well microplate format, making it suitable for simultaneous processing of multiple samples. Another feature of this system is that it simulates the drug response of an individual in a test tube by using whole blood samples stimulated with the drug. This system makes it possible to predict drug efficacy as part of the companies new “personalized medicine” concept (1). 

Hitachi is a pioneer in proton beam therapy (PBT) technology, an advanced type of cancer radiotherapy that employs spot scanning irradiation. In 1998, Hitachi developed its own proton beam therapy system, and in 2001, the first Hitachi PBT system was successfully used at the University of Tsukuba in Japan (2).

Strategic Partnerships

The Institute of Microelectronics (IME) is partnered with many companies including Hitachi Chemical Research Center to support the research and development of 3-Dimensional (3D) Through-Silicon Via (TSV) Consortium. The collaborative approach between the supporting companies and the 3D TSV Consortium is to leverage on each other's unique expertise to co-develop materials required for TSV processes, thin wafer handling and packaging assembly process (4).

With the new Hem(A)+ System, Hitachi Chemical plans to conduct contract test services for pharmaceutical companies to find novel biomarkers and select subjects for clinical trials by predicting drug efficacy, and eventually aims to have this system as a companion diagnostic (1).

Sources

  1. Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd. (2012, November 15). “Novel Molecular Testing System for Personalized Medicine.” Retrieved on November 19, 2012 from www.hitachi-chem.co.jp/cgi-bin/english/release_show.cgi?ID=221                             
  2. Hitachi, Ltd. (2012). “Medical.” Retrieved on November 19, 2012 from www.hitachi.us/about/hitachi/corporate-brochure/medical                       
  3. Bloomberg Businessweek (2012). Company Overview of Hitachi Chemical Research Center, Inc.” Retrieved on November 20, 2012 from http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=22238329               
  4. AZoNano (2010, February 24).  “Institute of Microelectronics Announces Collaborative Partnership with Singapore's Semiconductor Industry Supply Chain Vendors.” Retrieved on November 20, 2012 from www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=16122