WuXi deepens its genomics might with Illumina, Pacific Biomarkers deals

WuXi PharmaTech CEO Ge Li

Fresh off scoring U.S. certification for its genomics lab, China's WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) is amping up its lab testing services, buying into Illumina's ($ILMN) $1,000 genome technology and teaming up with Pacific Biomarkers to broaden its assay menu.

First, the Illumina deal: WuXi is now among the few global outfits with a HiSeq X Ten, a 10-device system that promises population-scale human whole genome sequencing at $1,000 per person. The system, to be installed at the CLIA-certified WuXi Genome Center in Shanghai, will allow the CRO to accelerate its clients' R&D efforts with ultrahigh-throughput screening, the company said.

Separately, WuXi has signed a deal with Pacific Biomarkers to get its hands on that company's menu of validated assays to complement its existing testing services. Much like with the Illumina deal, WuXi figures the partnership will make it a more attractive partner to drug developers seeking bioanalysis and core lab testing, and Pacific Biomarkers' expertise includes cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, acute kidney injury, musculoskeletal disorders and inflammation, according to the company.

As China's largest CRO, WuXi has long been piling up first-in-country accolades in sequencing, biologics manufacturing and research technology, and the company's latest investments in testing fit right in with its goal of becoming a global go-to for drug development, CEO Ge Li said.

"This investment in cutting-edge gene sequencing technology significantly strengthens WuXi's broad, integrated platform of R&D services," Li said in a statement. "It advances our mission of enabling anyone and any company to use our R&D platform to discover and develop innovative medicines to benefit the world's patients."

- read the Illumina release
- here's the Pacific Biomarkers announcement