A translation on the Nikkei Business Article has been included below:
Mitsubishi Electric is increasing its startup innovation. In a period of 3 years since 2017, 50 innovation projects have been implemented. It was highlighted during a management briefing on June 1, 2020, that the growth strategy of the company is to cooperate and grow with startups. In these challenging times, the true value of open innovation is being put to the test.
StratifiCare is a medical technology startup founded in 2015 from Singapore. Its research and development (R&D) facility has been working on a test kit since 2019.
Picture: An experiment in progress in StratifiCare's laboratory.
StratifiCare is developing a microfluidic test chip for Dengue. Specimen and reagents will be passed through microscopic channels that contain surfaces with a water-repellant coating. Compared to conventional methods, specimens and reagents flow more easily, and chemical reactions can be performed in precise volumes. As a result, this significantly improves the in vitro diagnostic test accuracy.
Every year, 100 million people in tropical regions, such as Southeast Asia and Latin America, are clinically infected with Dengue. StratifiCare aims to improve the accuracy of their tests but does not have the in-house capability to develop coatings for microchip channels with water-resistant characteristics. This was developed at Mitsubishi Electric.
Mitsubishi Electric's "Smart Air Coating" technology uses nanometer-sized particles that are dispersed in water-insoluble resin (hydrophobic resin), which results in water resistance. Since its invention 14 years ago, the technology has been used on outdoor products such as ventilation fan and air-conditioner units. To expand the use of the technology, Mitsubishi adopted the open innovation approach with the Singapore startup.