UCLA, working with a Chinese partner, will build a high-tech Dx lab in Shanghai

The University of California and a Chinese company will launch a high-end medical lab in Shanghai expected to handle molecular diagnostics and other tests for Chinese patients. They're billing the initiative as the first of its kind between a Chinese company and a U.S. academic medical center. It also adds a new wrinkle to the internationalization and diversification of the industry.

Specifically, the University of California, Los Angeles (along with the UCLA Department of Pathology), will develop the 25,000-square-foot facility with Centre Testing International, a publicly traded company in China that handles testing and inspection services for consumer products in a variety of industries. They'll form a joint venture named CTI-Pathology/UCLA Health to manage the operation.

Plans call for opening the lab in September, and it will provide patients with molecular diagnostic, genetic and other tests that aren't typically offered to Chinese patients under their current system. As part of the deal, UCLA pathologists are set to bring Chinese laboratory technicians up to speed on test interpretation. Once the facility in Shanghai opens, it will also be linked electronically and digitally with UCLA, so pathologists there can consult with patients and physicians in hospitals and clinics in China, according to the deal announcement.

Neither side is disclosing financial details.

Still, on a business level, this deal makes sense. China is spending billions of dollars to modernize and expand its healthcare system, and diagnostics will be a vital part of the end result. UCLA, by forging this joint partnership with a Chinese company, is gaining access to that rapidly increasing market and gets a wider audience for its technological expertise and approach to the diagnostics side of medicine. Shanghai is also a growing global hub for drug development. The UCLA Health System handles more than 7 million tests and diagnoses more than 90,000 tissue specimens annually, according to the partnership announcement.

But the joint arrangement also counters a medical culture in China that hasn't always placed a big focus on diagnosis, Dr. Scott Binder, director of pathology laboratory services for UCLA Health System, said in a statement. Binder, also senior vice chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine, came up with the idea to open a UCLA lab in China nearly a decade ago, the announcement noted.

- read the release

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