WuXi deepens its genomic ties with latest partnership

WuXi CEO Ge Li

Months removed from buying its way into the world of Big Data genomics, Chinese CRO WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) has partnered up with DNAnexus to take its technology to the cloud.

Under the deal, WuXi's NextCODE subsidiary will join forces with DNAnexus, a California outfit that offers cloud-based storage and analysis of genetic data. The partnership gives WuXi access to its partner's pioneering informatics and data management technology, and it helps DNAnexus raise its profile in the CRO's fast-growing home market of China.

In tandem with the alliance, WuXi is investing $15 million in its partner.

"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," WuXi CEO Ge Li said in a statement. "By connecting through a compliant cloud everything from CLIA sequencing to drug discovery and development to companion diagnostics, we are empowering clinicians, institutions and life science companies to use genomics to benefit patients more globally and effectively than ever before."

Earlier this year, WuXi paid $65 million for NextCODE, a spinoff of Icelandic genomics luminary deCODE, which Amgen ($AMGN) acquired for $415 million in 2012. The deal was part of WuXi's efforts to evolve into a value-adding partner for global R&D, not just a box-checking contractor. And partnering with DNAnexus fits within Li's oft-stated mission of turning his company into a go-to collaborator for innovators around the world, the company said.

WuXi's increasing investments in genomics include partnerships with Foundation Medicine ($FMI) and Pacific Biomarkers ($PBI). And, last year, WuXi made a splash by becoming one of the few researchers in the world to buy a HiSeq X Ten, Illumina's ($ILMN) 10-device system that promises population-scale human whole genome sequencing at $1,000 per person.

- read the statement

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