BGI Announces New Partnerships and 8th Anniversary Milestone in US
Genomics leader will debut its BGISEQ platform in North America
CAMBRIDGE, MA, May 4, 2018 — Global genomics leader BGI announced new partnerships with Johns Hopkins University and Mount Sinai Hospital and placement of its first BGISEQ sequencers in North America today as part of a celebration marking the 8th anniversary of BGI Americas.
“We are excited to advance new collaborations with world class academic and medical institutions in North America. The past eight years have witnessed many milestone events of BGI’s global expansion, which aligns with BGI’s mission to improve global human health through omics technology innovation, and its drive to make precision medicine affordable and accessible to the public,” said BGI Genomics CEO Yin Ye, who is hosting an event in Boston today with scientific leaders and dignitaries, including genetics pioneer George Church and Nobel Laureate Walter Gilbert. BGI Americas, a division of BGI Genomics, is based in Cambridge.
BGI announced today that it has signed an agreement with the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI) of Sinai Health System in Toronto to place its BGISEQ Next Generation Sequencing platform in the Toronto lab. This agreement follows an MOU the parties signed last year after being awarded a C$4.6 million Genomic Application Partnership Program (GAPP) grant from Genome Canada. The partners will jointly develop a genomics based diagnostic test for the early identification of women at risk for pre-term birth and other pregnancy complications. BGI will deploy its BGISEQ NGS platforms into Sinai Health to support this collaboration study on site. This milestone marks the first time the BGISEQ platforms are installed in North America to support genomics research and development.
BGI also announced today that it will begin collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University on pancreatic cancer precision medicine. The research project involves using BGI sequencing technologies to jointly profile patient cohorts using genomic assays. With the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s efforts to establish the Pancreatic Cancer Precision Medicine Center of Excellence (PMCoE) program, BGI and this Johns Hopkins’ pancreatic cancer program led by Dr. Lei Zheng and Dr. Christopher Wolfgang are partnering to build the genomic and immunogenomic database of pancreatic cancer and para-pancreatic malignancies. BGI and Drs. Zheng and Wolfgang will develop a joint research program to analyze the data collected from the PMCoE program, focusing on biomarker discovery, validation and neoepitope predictions related to patient survivorship, drug response and resistance.
Over the past decade, BGI has demonstrated its unique model of innovation and vision, developing cutting edge technology that transforms genomic research and healthcare, while lowering the cost of sequencing and fostering collaboration to benefit more people around the world. At $600 BGI’s whole genome sequencing is the lowest price in the industry. Moreover, BGI has been ranked first in academic collaboration in the Nature Index for its numerous successful partnerships with researchers.
“Watching BGI closely since their launch in 1999, I’ve been impressed by their exponential increase from a modest 1% contribution to the partial haploid Human Genome Project in 2003 to one of the world’s top producers of clinical-grade diploid human genomes — as well as prenatal testing for millions of pregnancies,” said George Church, Professor of Genetics, and Health Sciences and Technology of Harvard and MIT. “In addition to such “reading,” they have also made major contributions to “writing” whole chromosomes (aka Genome Project Write), including yeast and pig — and they have established The Regenesis Institute to accelerate this further. Their commitment to global collaborations and technical excellence is most welcome.”
Highlights of BGI Americas achievements include:
- In 2011, BGI established a strategic collaboration with pharmaceutical giant Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) focused on the discovery and development of biomarkers and genomic technologies.
- In 2011, BGI and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) jointly established a high throughput genome center supporting discovery and genomic diagnostics in rare disease. BGI and CHOP initiated the “1000 Rare Disease Project” that led to the discovery of genes and mutations associated with rare disease reported in more than 20 scientific publications. BGI & CHOP also co-developed a clinical whole exome diagnostic test offered through CHOP pathology since 2012.
- In 2013 BGI completed the acquisition of Complete Genomics (formerly NASDAQ-listed company: GNOM), a pioneer in the whole genome sequencing industry, and transformed its DNB™ sequencing technology into a desktop sequencer introduced two years later, the BGISEQ-500.
- In 2016, BGI expanded its presence in North America with a new office in Seattle, supporting partnerships with universities, companies and health-related organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the University of Washington. In 2017 BGI opened a Global Innovation Center in Seattle and San Jose to build an ecosystem of innovation in the two high-technology clusters and promote cross-sector collaboration.
- In 2017, BGI and the China National GeneBank (CNGB) it operates officially joined the Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC), a global pediatric brain cancer diagnosis and treatment alliance organized by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The CNGB serves as CBTTC’s data center in China, and is responsible for managing CBTTC’s hospital network in the region.
- In 2018, BGI, the Smithsonian Institution and other collaborators jointly initiated an ambitious plan to sequence all species on the planet, named the “Earth BioGenome Project” with the mission to maintain and preserve biodiversity.
“BGI’s success could not be achieved without our active engagement in global partnerships,” said Charles Bao, general manager of BGI Americas. “With our continued commitment to technology innovation, we hope to better enable genomics research and development, with the aim of improving healthcare, agriculture and environmental preservation for a better life.”
BGI was founded in 1999 with the vision of using genomics to benefit mankind and has since become one of the largest genomics organizations in the world. With a focus on research and applications in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, conservation and environmental fields, BGI has a proven track record of innovative, high profile research that has generated over 1,600 publications. BGI’s goal is to make state-of-the-art genomics highly accessible to the global research community and clinical markets by integrating the industry’s broadest array of leading technologies, including BGI’s own sequencing platform, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources. BGI also offers a wide portfolio of transformative genetic testing products across major diseases, enabling medical providers and patients worldwide to realize the promise of genomics-based diagnostics and personalized healthcare.
For more information: www.bgi.com
Kristi Heim, BGI Deputy Director of Communications