Low-cost genomic sequencing on the slate for China with Veritas landing?

Boston-based Veritas Genetics has set up an R&D center in China's Hangzhou Economic & Technological Development Area aimed at genomic screening and testing product development for an Asian population.

Veritas Founder and Managing Director, Asia, Jonathan Zhao

The company received $10 million in backing from Lilly Asia Venture in May and last month received a CE mark to conduct BRCA gene testing for the likelihood of inheriting breast and ovarian cancer in Europe, building on its myBRCA test sequences the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to detect deleterious variants with next-generation sequencing technology. Veritas launched myBRCA in North America in May. It offers the test for $199 in the U.S.

In China, Veritas intends to make accessible screening and testing products that are available globally, according to a press release, saying it has a team led by Managing Director Jonathan Y. Zhao, who has more than 15 years of Asia strategy and product launch experience with Amgen ($AMGN) and Pfizer ($PFE).

"We are determined to develop products that address the unique genetic variants which are common in Asian populations, and are making a significant commitment to bring Veritas Genetics' technology to Asia," Lei Li, Vice President of Global Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Veritas, said in a statement.

One focus for Asian testing, according to the release, is inherited blood disorder alpha thalassemia that is more prevalent in Asian populations, the release said.

Earlier this month, U.S.-based Agena Bioscience has setup a subsidiary in Shanghai aimed at genomic testing laboratories in mainland China for its MassARRAY Systems with 60 installed on-country to date, according to a press release. The company said Bob Wang was appointed as vice president and general manager for Greater China.

In June, China's State Council said the country aims to take a lead in DNA sequencing, noting in a news release that regulators take an active attitude toward progress in the field "because we know that no one can resist it and what we should do is make adjustments accordingly," according to Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission Lin Nianxiu and Vice Minister of Science and Technology Cao Jianlin.

- here's the release

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