Huawei, WuXi team up to power the China Precision Medicine Initiative

WuXi CEO Ge Li

Huawei and WuXi AppTec are teaming up to create a cloud genomics platform to support the China Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). The collaboration will pair the genomics capabilities WuXi gained in its $65 million acquisition of NextCODE with cloud infrastructure operated by Huawei.

By putting NextCODE's platform on Huawei's cloud infrastructure, the partners think they can meet the technological demands of China's population-scale genomics project. Full details of the project are yet to emerge publicly, but, having been involved in large-scale genome sequencing initiatives on three continents, WuXi has experience of what approaches are effective. The demands of the China Food and Drug Administration will guide decisions, as will the needs of the third-parties with which WuXi and Huawei plan to work.

WuXi and Huawei, in collaboration with life science cloud providers, plan to create the data standards and exchange framework needed to run China PMI. "This partnership aims to deliver the benefits of genomic medicine to patients on an unprecedented scale, and together we have the world-leading technology to achieve that ambition," WuXi CEO Ge Li said in a statement. China PMI joins the United Kingdom's 100,000 Genomes Project, the Qatar Genome Project and an initiative at Boston Children's Hospital on the list of large-scale sequencing projects with which WuXi is involved.

News of WuXi's latest deal comes shortly after China confirmed its plans to make the acceleration of genomics and other large-scale applications of biotechnology a priority over the next 5 years. In an analysis of projects being initiated by the Chinese government--which had been tipped for months to make China PMI part of its 2016-2020 5-year plan--state news organization Xinhua listed genomics as one of the top 100 strategic priorities. Early reports suggest China intends to make its PMI larger and more expensive than the initiative now getting underway in the U.S.

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