Genomics group plans innovation center

By Linda Deng in Seattle | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-05-24 10:41

BGI, a global genomics organization, will create a West Coast Innovation Center to develop technologies and collaborative projects in life sciences, global health and related fields.

The BGI Global Innovation Center will be co-located in Seattle and San Jose, California, as an ecosystem of innovation in the two high-technology clusters that will promote cross-sector collaboration, BGI announced on Friday.

In San Jose, the BGI facility already has a lab and has hired more than 100 employees where they plan to explore and develop the next-next-generation sequencing technologies.

In Seattle, BGI, which is headquartered in Shenzhen, in South China's Guangdong province, has multiple partnerships with several research institutes in the area, including UW Medicine and the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

BGI also has a long-term partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focused on projects and strategies to apply genomic tools to improve global health and agricultural development.

"The idea is to promote the partnership between researchers in China and the US," said Jian Wang, BGI's founder and chairman. "We want to work more closely to provide health care communities in both countries with new tools for preventing and fighting disease.

"The center demonstrates BGI's commitment to international collaboration and to aligning interests and partners to drive innovation," said Wang, adding that BGI intended to support a number of research initiatives, such as precision medicine and population health efforts at the University of Washington.

"With the partnership between UW Medicine and BGI, more innovations in research, education and healthcare will be developed between Seattle and Shenzhen to benefit the health of people worldwide," Wang stated.

Wang visited the West Coast last week to launch the center, while joining 140 of the world's top business and technology leaders at the Microsoft CEO Summit. This year the 21st annual CEO Summit took place in Redmond, Washington, from May 16 to 18, drawing more than 140 CEOs and leaders from leading companies and organizations representing more than 35 countries.

At the Belt and Road Forum held earlier last week in Beijing, Wang also emphasized BGI's focuses on global innovation, sustainable development and how to empower global partners with the establishment of global innovation centers and educational facilities.

"The Seattle hub will focus on precision medicine and feature collaborations with our local partners," said Yiwu He, CEO of BGI Groups USA.

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