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QIMR Berghofer signs MoU with global genomics giant

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and the Chinese genomics organisation BGI have entered into an agreement that will promote collaboration on a genomics-based research and education program.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at a meeting between the two world-leading research bodies in Shenzhen today.

QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon, said that under the agreement both organisations would work towards establishing a joint research program focused on precision medicine and the use of “omic” data.

“Precision medicine is a fast-growing field of research that involves developing personalised treatments for individual patients based on the particular genetic drivers or cellular makeup of their cancer or disease,” Professor Gannon said.

“We want to work with BGI on research that will improve the accuracy of precision medicine technologies. We also want to work together to analyse the data from large-scale genome sequencing studies, which will allow us to identify the different genetic variations that contribute to particular diseases.

“Both QIMR Berghofer and BGI are world leaders in the field of genetics, genomics and bioinformatics. By working together, we will progress this field of medicine much more quickly and will vastly improve the treatments available for devastating diseases like cancer.”

In August, BGI announced that it had chosen QIMR Berghofer as its research and development and commercialisation headquarters for the Asia Pacific region.

BGI’s President and co-founder, Professor Jian Wang, said that under the Memorandum of Understanding, the two organisations would explore a range of options to encourage research collaboration.

“We are very excited with this partnership. The joint force of BGI and QIMR Berghofer on the cutting-edge genomics technologies and clinical bioinformatics will deliver more discoveries and outcomes in precision medicine,” Professor Wang said.

“In addition to research collaborations, we will work with QIMR Berghofer to improve learning and training opportunities for PhD students in both organisations by establishing an exchange program for students working in the field of genomics.

“We will also look to share skills and experience by establishing a reciprocal arrangement for scientists and physicians to attend conferences and present guest lectures hosted by the other organisation.

“These initiatives will forge even closer ties between our two organisations, which will ultimately help to improve human health and life expectancy.”