– Goal to significantly reduce poverty and/or improve health outcomes in the developing world –
Seattle, WA and Shenzhen, China – BGI, the world’s largest genomics organization, announced today that it and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form a collaboration on global health and agricultural development with the goal of achieving common objectives in health and agricultural development, and meaningfully contributing to the achievement of one or more of the Millennium Development Goals. The signing ceremony, attended by Dr. Jian Wang, Director and Co-founder of BGI, Dr. Jun Wang, Executive Director, BGI, and Bill Gates of the Gates Foundation, was conducted yesterday outside of Seattle, Washington.
Pursuant to the MOU, BGI and the Gates Foundation will collaborate on both a strategic level and a specific project level. Collaboration on specific projects will leverage the Gates Foundation’s agriculture and global health program knowledge and networks with BGI’s sequencing and genomics capabilities to achieve the goal of significantly reducing poverty and/or improving health outcomes in the developing world. Strategic objectives include identifying a program of work and collaboration across global health and agricultural development and to conduct work together on initial projects with near-term potential to further develop the working relationship between BGI and the Gates Foundation.
The agreement supports the prompt and broad dissemination of information from collaboration projects. It also supports broad access to any technology arising from a project. These technologies will be required to be made available at a reasonable cost to the poor.
“BGI greatly welcomes this opportunity to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bring the benefit of genomics research to our global society,” stated Dr. Huanming Yang, Chairman and Co-Founder of BGI. “We are confident that the combination of our respective capabilities, expertise and experience will yield important scientific breakthroughs in the areas of human, plant and animal genomics that will contribute to the advancement of sustainable health and agriculture development, especially in the developing world.”
“Having contributed to the Human Genome Project as well as sequencing the genomes of many critical plant and animal species and human diseases, including the initial sequencing of the rice genome as well as our involvement in the Rice 10,000 Genome Project, the 1,000 Plants and Animals Genome Project, the International 1,000 genomes project, the 1,000 Rare Diseases Project, the International Cancer Genome Project, Autism Genome 10K, among others, BGI looks forward to partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in this significant collaboration to apply genomics research to benefit global human health,” stated Dr. Jian Wang.
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works closely with organizations like BGI that are engaged in pursuing scientific advances in health and agriculture. The purpose of this collaboration is to enable breakthroughs in science for disease prevention and farmer productivity in resource poor settings,” stated Dr. Trevor Mundel, president of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This partnership will be operationalized immediately, with the establishment of a management committee that will support identification and implementation of collaborations on global health and agricultural development projects.
BGI was founded in 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, which includes both private non-profit genomic research institutes and sequencing application commercial units, and its affiliates, BGI Americas, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and BGI Europe, headquartered 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 250 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, have sequenced the human Gut metagenome, and a significant proportion of the genomes for 1,000 genomes.