Seeing double: Canon carves out 2nd US medtech subsidiary with $300M investment

Canon is seeing stars (and stripes). The tech giant is making plans to open up its second medtech-focused subsidiary in the U.S., a move that it’s hoping will in turn bolster its position within the global medical device industry.

Canon Healthcare USA will join—and siphon away some business from—Canon Medical Systems USA, the stateside subsidiary of Canon Medical Systems. It’s tentatively set for a January 2023 launch, with about 20 employees to start and Hisashi Tachizaki, currently the vice president and general manager of Canon Medical Systems’ CT systems division, as its president, Canon said in a recent announcement.

The Japanese parent company is eyeing the Cleveland area for Canon Healthcare USA’s home base, based on its position as a “key hub” in the U.S. healthcare industry. The Midwestern metro area is already the location of Quality Electrodynamics, the MRI tech maker that Canon acquired in 2019, which will be resituated under the new subsidiary’s umbrella. Additionally, Hiroyuki Fujita, Ph.D., the founder and CEO of Quality Electrodynamics, has been tentatively tapped to chair the new offshoot.

In total, Canon said it’s expecting to direct $300 million of its own investment capital toward establishing the subsidiary and expanding its medical device business in the U.S.

Canon Healthcare USA will propose and develop new products and tools aimed at addressing current and future trends in healthcare, taking on some of Canon’s global marketing operations in the process. It’ll do so largely by building a network of medical institutions to help the company gather intel on those trends and pressing patient and clinician needs.

One example of that work will see Canon teaming up with some of those institutions to begin researching the use of photon-counting detection modules in CT scanning technology—a recent and ongoing development in computed tomography that can produce sharper images with lower radiation emissions—then using the results to rapidly roll out new technologies, all toward an objective of “capturing the No. 1 share of the global CT market at an early stage,” per Canon.

The new subsidiary will also take on an unspecified chunk of product sales and service operations from Canon Medical Systems USA, their parent company said in the announcement.

The move to stand up a second stateside subsidiary falls within what Canon has termed Phase VI of its Excellent Global Corporation Plan, which includes a goal of improving its competitiveness within a handful of medical component and diagnostic spaces: CT, MRI and diagnostic ultrasound systems, X-ray tubes and detectors, healthcare IT and in vitro diagnostics, to name a few.

The proposed new offshoot comes amid a period of solid growth for Canon not only in its medical device segments but also in its overall U.S. presence. In its third-quarter financial report (PDF), it tallied up nearly 26% year-over-year growth in its sales in the Americas for the first nine months of the year, reaching about 894 billion Japanese yen, or around $6.5 billion. Meanwhile, its imaging and medical divisions brought in a combined 923.5 billion yen ($6.7 billion) for the period, marking a 12% increase compared to the first nine months of last year.