Canon eyes move into DNA chip business

Shareholders of Canon paved the way for expansion into DNA chips with the approval on Wednesday of a revision to Canon's articles of incorporation.

Shareholders of Canon paved the way for expansion of the company's business activities into DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) chips with the approval on Wednesday of a revision to Canon's articles of incorporation.

The articles of incorporation define the business areas in which a company operates and Canon's did not include DNA chips, which are classified under "production and sale of pharmaceutical products." Expanding its articles of incorporation to encompass the new business area was approved at Canon's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, said Richard Berger, a spokesman for Canon in Tokyo.

Canon has been researching DNA chip technology for several years and Wednesday's move allows it to work towards the commercialization of products, although whether it actually will, and the timing of any such expansion, has yet to be decided, said Berger.

The company is using its bubble-jet printing head technology to produce DNA microarrays, which are glass plates on which multiple rows of DNA solutions containing genes are placed. The solutions are placed onto the plate as dots 40 nanometers to 50 nanometer in diameter using the printing technology. Canon says its method holds an advantage over current production techniques because it is cheaper and requires fewer production stages.

Canon is developing DNA microarrays for use in screening for colon cancer as part of a Japanese government-funded project.

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Martyn Williams

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