Under the agreement scientists from Merck and BGI will work closely together to identify and characterize biomarkers with an emphasis on drug discovery, drug development and diagnostics applications across a wide range of therapeutic areas.
"This strategic collaboration combines BGI's genomic sequencing and analytic capabilities with Merck's expertise and experience in drug development," said Dr. Jeffrey Chodakewitz, vice president, Late Stage Development, Merck Research Laboratories. "By working together we hope to apply BGI's comprehensive next-gen sequencing solutions to develop important new tools to aid drug development and enable effective tailoring of medicines to those patients most likely to respond."
Under the terms of the agreement Merck and BGI will each be permitted to propose projects to be undertaken under the collaboration. Both Merck and BGI will provide resources, expertise, samples and other research material as needed for the collaboration.
“We welcome this opportunity to bring extensive genomics experience to our collaboration with Merck, as well as our expertise in transcriptomics, proteomics and bioinformatics. Through this close collaboration with Merck, we are confident that we will achieve more important breakthroughs to accelerate disease genomics research and drug R&D to facilitate improved health care,” said Ye Yin, President of Research and Cooperation Division at BGI. “This collaboration will bring mutual benefits to BGI and Merck in the next few years, but also support the development of new techniques that will benefit the medical and pharmaceutical industries as a whole."
This agreement follows the signing, in September 2010, of a statement of intent to initiate and develop a working relationship to explore areas of mutual interest in healthcare research and discovery with the common goal of creating value from the massive output of genomic information enabled by next-generation, high-throughput DNA sequencing and analysis technologies.