Chalfont St. Giles, UK, and Shenzhen, China - 12 June, 2012 - GE Healthcare, the healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE), and BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, jointly announced today a pioneering multi-year research collaboration in stem cell science. The objective of the collaboration is to help advance the potential global utility of stem cell-derived assays for use in drug discovery and toxicity testing by exploring the underlying genetic variation between ethnically diverse human stem cell lines. The collaboration was announced at a signing ceremony attended by Dr Amr Abid, General Manager Cell Technologies, GE Healthcare Life Sciences and Lin Fang, Vice President of BGI, Ye Yin, Deputy President of BGI, and Yutao Du, Deputy President of BGI.
The collaborating parties are initially undertaking two ground-breaking projects. Firstly, BGI is performing genome sequencing and epigenetic analysis on cardiomyocytes and hepatocytes supplied by GE Healthcare Life Sciences. The aim is to map out the genetic variation across an ethnically diverse range of stem cell lines and to examine the changes that occur during differentiation into specific cell types in order to increase the understanding of cell models used in drug development research. Secondly, GE Healthcare is providing BGI with an IN Cell Analyzer 2000 system, a research tool for high content cellular imaging analysis. Training on the IN Cell Analyzer will be provided to BGI, enabling it to investigate gene function for a library of previously sequenced cell types by overexpressing or blocking the activity of single genes and observing the effect in selected populations of cells.
Dr Amr Abid, General Manager Cell Technologies, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, said, "As the pharmaceutical industry seeks to reduce the cost of drug development and to bring more effective, safer drugs to market, the availability of more biologically relevant and predictive cell models is becoming increasingly important. Our long term vision is to help this process by developing a broad range of Cytiva™ stem-cell derived assays, to include cell types from a wide diversity of ethnic backgrounds. This is a big challenge and we are delighted to be working with such a prestigious institute as the BGI, with its significant resources and world-class capabilities in genomics and epigenomics. By working together, we will advance our understanding of different stem cell lines, which in turn may in the future help in the global drive to develop new, safer and more effective medicines."
Yutao Du, Deputy President of BGI, said, "The importance of high-throughput sequencing has been increasing rapidly in the areas of healthcare, agriculture, environment, and others. Genetic variation analysis of functional cells derived from embryonic stem cells may provide a promising cell model resource for drug development and cell therapy. We are grateful for this opportunity to join hands with an outstanding healthcare organization to push the boundaries of understanding in the field of stem cells. "
About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems. Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.
BGI was founded in Beijing, China on September 9th, 1999 with the mission of being a premier scientific partner to the global research community. The goal of BGI 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. BGI, and its affiliates, BGI Americas, based in Cambridge, MA and BGI Europe, based in Copenhagen. Denmark, have established partnerships and collaborations with leading academic and government research institutions as well as global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, supporting a variety of disease, agricultural, environmental, and related applications.
BGI has established a proven track record of excellence, delivering results with high efficiency and accuracy for innovative, high-profile research which has generated over 170 publications in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science. These accomplishments include sequencing one percent of the human genome for the International Human Genome Project, contributing 10 percent to the International Human HapMap Project, carrying out research to combat SARS and German deadly E. coli, playing a key role in the Sino-British Chicken Genome Project, and completing the sequence of the rice genome, the silkworm genome, the first Asian diploid genome, the potato genome, and, most recently, 1,000 genomes and human gut metagenome. For more information about BGI, please visit www.genomics.cn.
Dr Val Jones, Global Media Relations Manager
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