BGI, UW Medicine ink precision medicine pact

(By Patrick Rodriguez - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

BGI and UW Medicine have entered into a precision medicine and population genetics pact. The deal positions the Chinese sequencing giant and Seattle, WA-based academic center to work together in a range of areas, including the generation, storage, sharing and analysis of omics data.

At this stage, public details of concrete, specific plans for the collaboration are scarce. The partners have committed to working to develop a joint Seattle-Shenzhen institute, an initiative that will draw on the capabilities of BGI, UW and other research centers located in and around the two cities. The institute is one of the ways in which the organizations intend to work toward their shared, if currently somewhat nebulous, goals.

Broadly speaking, the objective of the collaboration is to use next-generation sequencing to improve health, specifically through population genetics and personalized healthcare. In pursuit of this goal, the partners will collect, store, internationally share and analyze omics data. Shenzhen, China-based BGI, which runs an enormous sequencing operation, is positioned to support this work in a way that it thinks will lead to tangible benefits for researchers and patients.

“Through our partnership, efforts and resources will be joined to produce more innovative healthcare solutions in precision medicine that will lead to more effective treatments available to patients,” Dr. Yiwu He, global head of research and development at BGI, said in a statement. “Advanced technologies and knowledge will also become more accessible to professionals and the public due to this partnership.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray unveiled the genomics collaboration as part of a visit to Shenzhen, during which the delegation also struck a broader memorandum of understanding between the two cities.

- read the statement