BGI and the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) have partnered to create the BGI-VPC Joint Research Laboratory, a sequencing and translational research facility. The aim of the collaboration is to discover and advance basic and translational programs in oncology, including personalized oncology, according to the organizations.

The BGI-VPC Joint Research Laboratory, established at the VPC facility in Vancouver, is currently available for use. It will apply genome research to develop new biomarkers and cancer therapies, the companies said. The primary focus initially will be on bladder, kidney, and prostate cancer; although the organizations said the collaboration could be expanded to include other cancers of special interest.

Throughout the next five years, scientists will utilize clinical expertise and a repository of metastatic and post-treated cancer specimens with the goal of developing of targeted therapies and ultimately evidence based precision oncology.

Additionally, with the participation of Yuzhuo Wang, Ph.D., senior scientist at Vancouver Prostate Centre and BC Cancer Agency, researchers will use patient derived xenograft models to dissect the inner workings of tumors.

“The primary focus of this agreement is to achieve a deeper understanding of advanced and drug-resistant cancers with the implicit goal of improved quality of life for patients,” stated Colin Collins, Ph.D., professor at the University of British Columbia and senior scientist and director of laboratory for advanced genome analysis at VPC.

“With our contribution of next-generation sequencing equipment and advanced data processing and analysis, we expect the Joint Research Laboratory to make significant discoveries resulting in new, validated therapeutic targets as well as new molecules for commercial development,” said Yingrui Li, CEO of BGI Tech Solutions.

BGI and VPC said it is anticipated that future collaborative research will range from health and agriculture to environmental research.

In July, BGI inked a deal with U.K.-based University of Birmingham to create the Joint Centre for Environmental Omics (JCEO). The JCEO seeks to protect environment, health, and global biodiversity by analyzing the toxicity of compounds.

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