WuXi brings its genomic heft to Chinese patients with hospital pact

WuXi PharmaTech ($WX), making use of its recent $65 million investment in genomics, is teaming up with a Shanghai hospital to expand the scope of precision medicine in its home country.

Tapping its NextCODE subsidiary, WuXi is bringing its genomic testing services to the Children's Hospital of Fudan University (CHFU), planning to use its Big Data technology to help diagnose rare diseases. The partnership marks the first time sequencing-based testing will be available for clinical use in China, according to the company, and WuXi is looking to build on the patient-facing work NextCODE has already done with Boston Children's Hospital and Genomics England.

NextCODE, which spun out of deCODE after Amgen ($AMGN) bought that company in 2012, makes its money by renting out its huge genomic database to healthcare providers, using the technology to help physicians identify and analyze gene mutations and provide fast diagnoses without the need for major IT infrastructure. WuXi acquired NextCODE earlier this year for $65 million and merged the company with its internal genomics business, planning to expand its global exposure.

Now, bringing NextCODE to China is the next major step in that process, WuXi said. CHFU sees about 7,000 patients a year, according to the company, making it an ideal environment for large-scale genomic screening.

"Our aim is to bring our technology into the clinic to deliver precision medicine to patients in every market worldwide," WuXi NextCODE President Hannes Smarason said in a statement. "China is central to that strategy, and we couldn't have a better partner than Fudan Children's for realizing it and giving thousands of young patients and their families the best diagnostics and treatment options for inherited rare disorders."

WuXi PharmaTech CEO Ge Li

Meanwhile, after months of speculation, WuXi has finally made a decision on an offer from its CEO, Ge Li, and a group of investors to take the company private, agreeing last month to a $3.3 billion deal that would take the company off of the New York Stock Exchange by year's end. Pending shareholder approval, WuXi will become part of a newly formed parent company through an all-cash transaction that trades $46 for each of WuXi's American-traded securities. The total represents a 16.5% premium over WuXi's closing price before the potential deal came to light.

- read the statement

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