Matsushita and Tensor Biosciences have signed a five-year agreement on the joint research and commercialisation of a drug-testing technology which will eventually help develop drugs for psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, the two companies announced Tuesday.

Since 1999, the Osaka, Japan-based company has been developing the MED 64 System, a chip-like probe which stimulates and records the electrical activity of brain tissue samples at a multitude of locations in parallel, allowing for the real-time study of activity patterns in living brain tissues, according to a statement issued by the two companies.

Using the MED 64 system, Tensor has been developing its unique brain-on-a-chip drug-discovery technology, which allows automated real-time analysis of electrical activity in the brain, it said.

As part of this agreement, Matsushita will patent Tensor's brain-on-a-chip technology, so that it can develop the MED 64 System further and will license it exclusively back to Tensor for use in the discovery of new drugs, the statement said.