WuXi takes its genomics biz to Qatar with new hospital partnership

WuXi PharmaTech ($WX), working to expand the adoption of its new clinical genomics service, partnered up with a large Qatari hospital to sequence the genomes of patients and help guide treatment.

Through its NextCODE subsidiary, WuXi is working with Doha's Sidra Medical and Research Center in a multiyear collaboration, providing its sequencing skills and sizable database of genomic information to both diagnose patients and fuel R&D. Sidra is a partner in the Qatar Genome Project, an effort launched in 2013 that mirrors the Icelandic research endeavor that forms the basis for NextCODE's database.

"Qatar is a small nation thinking big, committed to playing a leading role in making sequence data a standard part of healthcare," NextCODE President Hannes Smarason said in a statement. "Given our roots in Iceland and work with Genomics England and other large-scale projects, this collaboration is a natural fit for us."

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.

The Sidra deal is WuXi's latest coup in its efforts to spread its genomics platform around the world. Last month, the company signed a similar deal with Shanghai's Children's Hospital of Fudan University, lending its Big Data might for use in diagnosing rare diseases. The company also has agreements in place with Boston Children's Hospital and Genomics England.

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