Companies are joining forces to find markers for drug R&D as well as diagnostic applications.

Merck & Co. and BGI agreed to work together on the discovery and development of biomarkers and genomic technologies. The aim is to identify and characterize biomarkers with an emphasis on drug discovery, drug development, and diagnostic applications across a range of therapeutic areas.

“This strategic collaboration combines BGI’s genomic sequencing and analytic capabilities with Merck’s expertise and experience in drug development,” comments Jeffrey Chodakewitz, vp, late-stage development, Merck Research Laboratories. “By working together we hope to apply BGI’s comprehensive next-gen sequencing solutions to develop important new tools to aid drug development and enable effective tailoring of medicines to those patients most likely to respond.”

Under terms of the agreement Merck and BGI will each be permitted to propose projects to be undertaken by the collaboration. Both Merck and BGI will provide resources, expertise, samples, and other research material as needed.

This agreement follows the signing, in September 2010, of a statement of intent to initiate and develop a working relationship to explore areas of mutual interest in healthcare research and discovery. The goal is to leverage the massive output of genomic information enabled by next-generation, high-throughput DNA sequencing and analysis technologies.

BGI was founded in 1999 with the mission of being a premier scientific partner to the global research community. The company’s goal is to make leading-edge genomic science highly accessible through its investment in infrastructure that leverages the best available technology, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources.

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