Put aside your Sony flat-screen TVs and Blu-Ray players and make way for —flow cytometry. Why is Sony Corporation, a proven global manufacturer in the field of audio, video game, communications, key device and information technology, venturing in the turbulent, albeit often lucrative waters of medical applications? Because they can.

Less than a year ago, Sony Corporation of America announced the acquisition of iCyt Mission Technology, Inc., a leading producer of high-performance cell sorters used for stem cell and disease research. iCyt, headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, designs, manufactures and sells flow cytometers as well as associated reagents and services. Sony brings to the laboratory table a cosmic level of technological and engineering experience. Indisputably one of the international leaders in technology, Sony has long been exploring healthcare applications for its heretofore consumer-based optic technologies, such as microchips used for Blu-Ray disc players, as well as its advanced data processing systems.

The acquisition of iCyt by Sony hurls the global giant headlong into the burgeoning field of biological instrumentation. Keiji Kimura, Sony Executive Vice President, opined that “…marrying Sony’s expertise in manufacturing consumer products with iCyt’s technological assets will accelerate development of the business.”

At the recent Congress of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry, Sony and iCyt announced two new, state-of-the-art cell-sorters; SYNERGY, an advanced bench-top cell sorter/analyzer, and ECLIPSE, a multi-color automated bench-top analyzer. These machines, which range in price from $250,000 to $1.4 million, have been optimized for use with iCyt’s latest comprehensive line of flow cytometry reagents.

Current developments in regenerative medicine have brought to the forefront the necessity of cell analysis — flow cytometry – as an indispensable instrument for research. Sony’s application of its core technologies should enhance and epitomize its venture into the world of life science instrumentation and related technology. Sony and iCyt have, jointly, been accelerating the development of next-gen cell analysis systems, distributing these revolutionary devices to private and public research institutions, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and large medical centers around the world.

Sony Corporation, which recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $87 billion for fiscal year ended March 2011, is uniquely positioned to expand its data processing expertise into the realm of health care.

iCyt, will be able to utilize Sony’s international resources and reputation to deliver innovative solutions to the cell analysis market. Other major players in the field of flow cytometry include BD Biosciences (part of Becton, Dickinson & Co.), Beckman Coulter and Danish company Dako A/S.