Michita Sato, President
Interestingly, gardening is an excellent metaphor for how things grow and thrive in business. Great business leaders are like gardeners who believe in investing energy in growing rather than fixing. One such kingpin, Makoto Sato learned essential management lessons while getting his hands dirty in gardening. As an innovative researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Makoto was quick to realize the challenges related to imaging in drug development, amid increasing costs and declining rates of success. With a passion for “imaging” that can dramatically improve drug discovery, in 2005, Makoto sowed the seeds of the first imaging CRO in Asia—Micron.
Having cultivated a vibrant and innovative environment, Makoto has fostered new possibilities for growth centered on imaging technology at Micron—similar to pruning garden trees. Today, in order to help organizations keep up with the advances in medical imaging, the company has constructed a framework to provide “full support” services. Micron specializes in clinical research using medical imaging, performs research with real-world data, and develops imaging biomarkers. While the medical imaging industry has been revolutionized by innovation, leading to the frequent use of PET, MRI, and CT for trial-specific imaging process standards and medical practice imaging process standards, Micron stands at the forefront of this wave of progress. The company also ensures that its clients are primed to reap the benefits of technological advances in medical imaging that are not only instrumental for the development of pharmaceuticals but also medical devices, regenerative medicine, and AI-based medical device software.
Following Makato’s legacy of strong leadership, Micron is now led by Michita Sato, president of Micron, who draws on rich industry expertise to assist the clients in their research and development by utilizing imaging technology. Micron has cultivated numerous medical imaging specialists, accumulated diverse knowledge, and actively invested in systemization. Simultaneously, the company is enlarging and strengthening its functionality not only as a CRO but also as a company evolving with integrated research.
At the core, Micron bridges the gap created by the lack of specific and updated knowledge of medical imaging in the current clinical development landscape.
It is fairly unique for a CRO to have both a monitoring service team and an imaging core-lab team
“With a wealth of know-how and over 15 years of experience, we are proud of providing our services swiftly at reasonable prices to meet the markets’ needs, implementing our flexible systems with appropriate investments,” says Michita. Micron has built strong partnerships with organizations from not only mega pharma but also academia to run multiple joint-research projects. Laser-focused on ensuring clinical trial success, the experts at Micron provide imaging training in addition to qualifying the imaging facility. Unlike some global imaging core-labs that merely send the site training kit in English and the phantom for imaging scanner standardization, Micron brings in its Proactive Site Management service to provide direct support and training in the site’s local language specifically to qualify the imaging facility.
Micron’s “full support” services have been beneficial for foreign companies that want to carry out clinical trials in Japan and need to designate an ICCC (In Country Clinical Care-taker). As an ICCC, in addition to imaging core-lab services, Micron’s team members can also offer support services for PMDA consultation, monitoring, data management, medical writing, and pharmacovigilance. “Besides, we frequently contract studies for imaging core-lab services in combination with our monitoring services. This allows us to closely watch the latest study updates and perform a well-running PDCA cycle. It is fairly unique for a CRO to have both a monitoring service team and an imaging core-lab team. We consider this our biggest strength, which other companies cannot compete with,” adds Michita. Moreover, the company also allows clients to save infrastructure investment costs in all types of imaging studies.
To illustrate the prowess of the company’s “full support” services, Michita cites a customer success story where Micron deployed its powerful, flexible, and user-friendly central image review system. The sponsor replaced the imaging core-lab vendor with Micron during the clinical study after receiving multiple complaints from the central reviewers, including user-unfriendly operability, slow communication speeds, and slow image data display speeds. “Our system retrieved the data easily, which enabled smooth replacement of the vendor without any big headache. Micron received high praise from both the sponsor and central reviewers,” extols Michita. As a result of Micron’s high quality services being recognized in the market, Micron has been designated as a preferred imaging vendor of mega pharmas.
Micron plans to expand globally with a two-dimensional approach. First, Micron will focus on medical imaging research and expand its services territory across Asia, North America, Europe, and the rest of the world. Second, Micron will engage in comprehensive research of medical imaging to utilize in clinical research through the real-world and investigate imaging biomarkers. Additionally, the company will support clinical research to be performed objectively and efficiently. With services backed by a policy of providing Japanese hospitality, Micron looks forward to gaining a foothold as the top integrated medical imaging company in APAC in order to meet the globalization of drug development and make a difference in the world through healthcare research.