Veritas Genetics, a pioneer in improving the accessibility of genetic testing, is establishing an R&D center in the Hangzhou Economic & Technological Development Area (HEDA), Hangzhou, China, and expanding its China-based leadership team.
The team is led by Managing Director, Jonathan Y. Zhao, Ph.D., an executive with more than 15 years of Asia strategy and product launch experience with Amgen and Pfizer; Lei Li, MD, Ph.D., Vice President of Global Clinical and Regulatory Affairs; and, Min Wang, Ph.D., Vice President of China R&D.
“We are determined to develop products that address the unique genetic variants which are common in Asian populations,” says Dr. Li, “and are making a significant commitment to bring Veritas Genetics’ technology to Asia.” Dr. Li recently led the clinical genetics laboratory at Novartis in Boston, and previously was in a similar role with Pfizer.
Alpha thalassemia, as one example, is an inherited blood disorder that is much more prevalent in Asian populations compared to rest of the world, with as high as 14% of the population carrying disease variants in some regions.1 The blood disorder is marked by a reduction in hemoglobin and can result in fetal death in utero or shortly after birth.2
“We are beginning to collaborate with institutions in China and Asia to help address these unique genetic needs,” adds Dr. Wang, who left his post at the Human Genome Sequencing Center of the Baylor College of Medicine to lead Veritas Genetics’ rapidly growing China R&D team.
With deep ties in China, including its venture backer Lilly Asia Ventures, Veritas Genetics is executing on the company’s mission to make disease prevention through genetic screening products accessible globally. This is especially important in underserved populations where affordability and accessibility are key barriers to opportunities for disease prevention and early detection.