WuXi and DNAnexus join up for cloud-based genomic services

WuXi CEO Ge Li

WuXi PharmaTech's ($WX) WuXi NextCODE Genomics unit is teaming up with DNAnexus to offer cloud-based genomic services, leveraging WuXi NextCODE's genome analytic technology and DNAnexus' cloud-based platform to facilitate R&D and expand the companies' global footprint.

Shanghai-based WuXi will shell out $15 million to get its hands on DNAnexus' tools for cloud-based genome informatics and data management, creating a system that allows researchers and companies to access sequencing data remotely and leverage sequencing technology for drug and diagnostic development, the company said in a statement.

"This strategic investment and partnership bring together the world's best technologies to enable any company or institution to leverage the full power of genomics and our R&D capabilities at any time, from anywhere," Ge Li, chairman and CEO of WuXi PharmaTech, said in a statement. "By connecting through a compliant cloud everything from CLIA sequencing to drug discovery and development of companion diagnostics, we are empowering clinicians, institutions and life science companies to use genomics to benefit patients more globally and effectively than ever before."

The companies are focusing on China as part of the deal, as the country boasts 20% of the world's sequencing capacity, WuXi said in a statement. In addition to providing the cloud-based genomics platform on four continents, WuXi and DNAnexus will also offer the same technology and capabilities in the country, opening the door to a broader market.

The partnership represents another step forward for WuXi as it takes a deeper dive into genomics. Last year, the CRO became one of the few to buy a HiSeq X Ten, Illumina's ($ILMN) 10-device system for human whole genome sequencing. WuXi earlier this year snatched up genomic analysis startup NextCODE for $65 million in cash, supporting its analytics and bioinformatics efforts as it looks to increase its presence in genomics.

A genomics deal also stands to benefit DNAnexus as the company expands the reach of its cloud-based platform amid increased competition. The Google ($GOOG)-backed company last year roped in $15 million to advance its data hub ambitions, and in August teamed up with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and AllSeq to share data from a HiSeq X Ten. Garvan uploaded the data from its two test genomes to DNAnexus' platform in less than 50 minutes, a promising finding for DNAnexus as it beefs up infrastructure and strengthens its clinical footprint.

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