WuXi pairs up with deCODE spinout to further its genomics expansion

WuXi PharmaTech ($WX) has spent the last year and change amping up its genomics expertise, and now China's largest CRO has signed a deal with Cambridge, MA's NextCODE Health to further grow its bioinformatics offerings.

Under the agreement, NextCODE--which spun out of deCODE after Amgen ($AMGN) paid $415 million for the company--will lend its sequencing analysis technology to the WuXi Genome Center, the CRO's CLIA-certified Shanghai lab. NextCODE is on hand to help WuXi's clients process sequencing data using its population-scale technology, generating reports and shedding light on the data's medical implications, the company said.

NextCODE launched last year with a 5-year exclusive license on deCODE's Big Data technology, planning to use its predecessor's genomics platform for clinical diagnostics. The new company makes its money by loaning out its huge, refined genomic database to providers and CROs, using the technology to help physicians and researchers identify and analyze gene mutations, providing fast diagnoses without the need for major IT infrastructure.

For WuXi, the deal is another dive into genomics for a CRO working to differentiate itself on the world stage. In October, the company signed a deal with Foundation Medicine ($FMI) to offer that company's cutting-edge cancer profiling tests at its Shanghai lab. And WuXi made a splash earlier this year when the CRO became one of the few researchers in the world to buy a HiSeq X Ten, Illumina's ($ILMN) 10-device system that promises population-scale human whole genome sequencing at $1,000 per person.

The CRO's focus on genomics is part of a cross-cutting plan to grow its presence on the market through expansions in technology and geographic presence. Last quarter, the CRO's revenue jumped 18% to $173.6 million, a gain driven by 16% growth in its lab services business and a 23% leap in manufacturing. For the full year, the company expects to pull in as much as $672 million, an improvement over its previously announced range of between $665 million and $670 million.

- read the announcement