Ryukyu Immunology Corporation develops test kits to detect HIV infection

Ryukyu Immunology Corporation develops test kits to detect HIV infection

Test kit to detect HIV antigen for research purposes.

April 26, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Ryukyu Immunology Corporation, which is located in Uruma, has produced antibodies that detect the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, that causes AIDS, in the early stages of infection, and using this antibody has made assay kits for in vitro diagnostic tests and for research. The corporation said these kind of kits were being manufactured for the first time in Japan. The corporation will look for a market for the product as technology produced in Okinawa. The Ryukyu Immunology Corporation is involved in the development, manufacture and sale of the antibodies used in the diagnosis and research of infectious diseases.

Munechika Hasegawa, the president of Ryukyu Immunology Corporation.

On April 25, the Okinawa Development Finance Corporation invested 15 million yen in the Ryukyu Immunology Corporation. A spokesperson of the Okinawa Development Finance Corporation said, “This project helps to prevent the spread of the infection and will accelerate research into vaccine development.” The corporation will use the funds to purchase new equipment, which will further advance the business.

According to the corporation, HIV antibody testing, which determines the presence of antibodies produced through infection by the virus, is common in Japan. In most cases, HIV is apparent in test results six to eight weeks after infection, but there are some cases that produce a negative result for the detection of the antibodies during the initial infection.

In collaboration with the University of the Ryukyus, the Ryukyu Immunology Corporation has succeeded in purifying antibodies that can identify the HIV antigens and has established a method to measure the infection at an early stage. In addition to selling the reagent antibody as a raw material the corporation has developed a kit for research that can detect HIV antigens in a short time, utilizing antibodies. In partnership with companies outside of Okinawa, the corporation has begun to sell to companies involved in research and drug discovery for HIV.

The corporation has produced in-vitro diagnostic test kits that can check for both antibodies and antigens using a simple method, and has had business talks with a possible partner company. The Ryukyu Immunology Corporation plans to provide its technology to produce test kits for the partner company, which will manufacture and sell them.

In addition to HIV antibodies, the corporation has developed a useful antibody and is working to expand its sales channels and mass produce them. Sales are expected to reach 215 million yen in the fiscal year ending on January 31, 2015. Munechika Hasegawa, the president of the corporation, said, “Further enhancing our skills, we want to distribute them to foreign markets and want to convey our technology, from Okinawa to the world.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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