SEATTLE, Dec. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- BGI, a leading global genomics organization headquartered in Shenzhen, announced it is expanding its international operations with the formation of a new division, BGI Groups USA, to be based in Seattle.
BGI is engaged in scientific research, genomic sequencing, precision medicine, agriculture, bioinformatics and related technologies with a vision to use genomics to benefit humanity.
From Seattle, the company will expand partnerships with universities, companies and health and agriculture-related organizations, and support communications and branding, product development and investment.
BGI has offices in China, Japan, Denmark, Australia and the United States and has established more than 40 labs or joint labs around the world.
"BGI's commitment to North America, particularly the Seattle region, recognizes the strong ecosystem of biotechnology and health groups working at the forefront of medicine," said Dr. Yiwu He, CEO of BGI Groups USA and BGI's global head of Research and Development. "The new office will help us connect those resources with BGI's international capabilities and scale to accelerate global innovation for human health."
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who visited BGI Shenzhen headquarters in May as part of a trade mission, said BGI can help strengthen the community of scientists and engineers in Seattle who are working to solve global issues and improve lives.
"BGI is one of Shenzhen's most famous companies and is an impressive pioneer in DNA sequencing. Their new division based in Seattle is a welcome addition to our community," Murray said. "Seattle and BGI share a vision for a future where we are all better off thanks to scientific advancements."
BGI has made major scientific breakthroughs in sequencing human genomes and the genomes of crops, animals and microbes. As the world's largest genomics center, BGI produces at least a quarter of the world's genomic data. It is also the only genomics organization that focuses not only on humans, but also on agriculture, biodiversity and the environment.
BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a Mountain View, CA-based sequencing technology company in 2013. Based on CG's technology, BGI launched its proprietary high-throughput next-gen sequencers, BGISEQ-500 and BGISEQ-50 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
BGI also operates one of the world's most comprehensive and sophisticated biorepositories, the China National GeneBank, which opened in Shenzhen in September and contains more than 10 million genetic samples from humans, plants, animals and microbes.
BGI's Scientific Advisory Board includes leading science innovators Dr. George M. Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in genome sequencing and next generation DNA sequencing methods, and Dr. Leroy Hood, president and co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology, who created the technological foundation for genomics and proteomics and pioneered the fields of systems biology and systems medicine. Dr. Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada, former President of the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who is currently Venture Partner at Frazier Healthcare Partners in Seattle and the chairman and co-founder of Outpost Medicine, serves as Chairman of BGI's Scientific Advisory Board.
In Seattle, BGI has multiple partnerships with several leading research institutes in the area, including University of Washington Medicine, to collaborate on precision medicine and accelerate the application of new sequencing technologies developed by BGI to human health.
BGI also has a long-term partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focused on projects and strategies to apply genomic tools to improve global health and agricultural development.
BGI has partnered with Washington State University to cooperate on programs in basic and applied research, technology and information transfer, and economic development.
BGI is also working with five leading health and research organizations in British Columbia to bring together advanced technologies and individualized therapy for cancer and other diseases. The partnership, between BGI, Providence Health Care, St. Paul's Foundation, Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC), Genome British Columbia (Genome BC), and Deloitte Inc., focuses on applying next generation sequencing technologies and big data to accelerate personalized medicine and improve outcomes for patients.