BGI in pact with Singapore's Clearbridge on biopsy tool


Shenzhen-based genomics powerhouse BGI will develop a liquid biopsy screening tool in China using technology developed by National University of Singapore spinoff Clearbridge BioMedics in a pact initially focused on potential personalized medicine applications in lung, breast and liver cancers.

The product developed by Clearbridge--ClearCell FX1--is used to separate circulating tumor cells from blood samples.

Under the terms of the agreement, BGI will draw upon its genomic expertise to develop further clinical and research applications in diagnostics. In particular, according to its release, the partners are looking at cancer-related targeted gene analysis, drug-related gene analysis, single cell analysis and cancer immunotherapy.

"We believe that liquid biopsy plays a key role in clinical diagnostics and personalized medicine and can potentially even aid in immunotherapy PD-L1 treatment management," Johnson Chen, chairman and founder of Clearbridge BioMedics, said in the release.

BGI has reportedly mulled a mainland China initial public offering by the end of 2016--following management changes in the past year that appeared to lead to a slowdown in expansion plans.

BGI began in 1999 as Beijing Genomics Institute with the help of government institutions and has since bought Mountain View, CA-based Complete Genomics, where the halt of a population-scale sequencing platform late last year led to job cuts. It has also previously made a series of partnership moves aimed at big data service offerings in genomic research.

- here's the release