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Global genomics giant establishes base at QIMR Berghofer

Chinese genome sequencing company BGI has chosen QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute as its research and development and commercialisation headquarters for the Asia Pacific region.

The Deputy Premier Jackie Trad made the announcement at QIMR Berghofer today, joined by the Minister for Health Cameron Dick, BGI’s President and co-founder Professor Jian Wang, and QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO Professor Frank Gannon.

BGI is one of the largest genome sequencing companies in the world and is planning to establish a base at the Institute for its entire range of research and commercialisation activities.

QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon, welcomed BGI to the Institute.

“QIMR Berghofer is a world leader in the field of genomics and genetics so it is fitting that one of the world’s largest sequencing companies should establish its Asia Pacific headquarters at our premises,” Professor Gannon said.

“BGI will occupy office and laboratory space at our premises and will operate independently of the Institute.

“However, their work complements research that our institute is doing in the field of clinical genomics and personalised medicine.

“Having BGI here will also help to cement Queensland, and the Herston precinct in particular, as a major centre for biomedical research.”

BGI President and co-founder Professor Jian Wang said the excellent facilities and research programs at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, along with Queensland’s existing life science institutions, industries and networks made it an obvious choice for BGI’s research and development, and commercialisation centre for the Asia Pacific region.

“BGI has some very lofty ambitions to use omics technology to improve human life – increasing the average life span by five years, increasing global food production by 10 per cent and understanding the mechanisms of 50 per cent of diseases,” Professor Wang said.

“BGI’s global precision medicine initiative is also seeking cures for cancer, birth defects, cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, and infectious diseases.

“But to achieve all of this, we need to collaborate with the world’s best to better understand the omics of plants, animals and humans.

“BGI’s decision to come to Queensland demonstrates our confidence in the state as a major centre for life sciences, including cancer research, biomedical science, genomics and biotechnology, as well as agricultural science and development.”

BGI’s global headquarters are based in Shenzhen in China’s Guangdong Province. The company has 47 laboratories worldwide.

The Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said BGI’s work would complement the world-leading research already being done in Queensland.

“We are delighted this innovative and cutting-edge organisation has decided to set up its Asia Pacific headquarters in Queensland,” Ms Trad said.

“They will be working closely with Queensland universities and government bodies on key research issues in genomics, healthcare, agriculture and biodiversity.

“BGI employ 5,000 people worldwide and their decision to invest here in Queensland is a fantastic endorsement of the Palaszczuk Government’s Advance Queensland initiatives.”