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Leading health organizations in Canada and China team up to accelerate precision medicine.
Research + Innovation

Leading Health Organizations in Canada and China Teaming up to Accelerate Precision Medicine


BGI at Shenzhen, Providence Health Care, St. Paul’s Foundation and partners plan joint research initiative

VANCOUVER, BC, Canada and SHENZHEN, China – Five leading health and research organizations in British Columbia and the world’s largest genomics organization, based in China, have formed a global partnership to bring together advanced technologies and individualized therapy for cancer and other diseases.

The partnership, between Shenzhen-based BGI, Providence Health Care, St. Paul’s Foundation, Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC), Genome British Columbia (Genome BC), and Deloitte Inc., focuses on applying next generation sequencing technologies and big data to accelerate personalized medicine and improve outcomes for patients.

“This partnership links the best researchers in British Columbia and China with cutting edge genomic technologies to share expertise and accelerate innovation on a global scale,” said Dianne Doyle, President and CEO, Providence Health Care. “Our mutual goal is more effective treatments for patients using precision medicine.”

The collaboration aims to leverage each partner’s strengths to create health centres of excellence in both Shenzhen and Vancouver. Cooperative research programs will build on BC’s capability for world-class genomics research and BGI’s internationally recognized expertise in ‘omics’ technology, data analysis and research.

“BGI and BC have collaborated for many years. This is an exciting step forward to build stronger collaboration to realize the goal of precision medicine, accelerate innovation and make an impact on improving human health,” said Ning Li, chief development officer on precision medicine at BGI.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the parties at a ceremony at the Vancouver Board of Trade during the American Society of Human Genetics 2016 annual meeting.

“This partnership builds on an initial investment made by BGI into BC’s growing genomics hub and is another step towards the implementation of precision medicine in our province,” said Dr. Pascal Spothelfer, President & CEO of Genome BC. “Our belief is that this relationship will mutually benefit patient outcomes in both countries by linking world class research capabilities with clinical applications.”

The partners envision creating a joint research centre at the new St. Paul’s Hospital campus that would involve scientists and clinicians from UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and use BGI’s cost-effective, high-throughput sequencing capabilities.

“We welcome new opportunities that this partnership could provide for our research teams at these sites to continue to engage in breakthrough discoveries in personalized health and genomics research,” said Dr. Helen Burt, UBC Vice President Research & International pro tem.

Deloitte will contribute its expertise managing the big data analytics environment to facilitate world class research and enable health information to be securely shared with the various research partners.

BGI, the world’s largest genomics organization, began a partnership with the VPC earlier this year for a BGI-VPC Joint Research Laboratory to combine BGI’s advanced and cost-effective technologies, and VPC’s world class cancer research and drug development program. The partnership focuses on individualized therapy for cancer through evidence-based precision oncology and clinical trials, as well as commercialization for diagnostics and treatment of prostate and others cancers, such as non-invasive “liquid biopsies” for monitoring men with advanced prostate cancer.

“The partnership has allowed scientists to develop biomarkers for identifying the most dangerous prostate tumours and to sequence a large cohort of tumours to define mechanisms of resistance to therapy,” said Dr. Colin Collins, Senior Research Scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre and a Director of The Laboratory for Advanced Genome Analysis. “This new agreement promises to greatly enrich the entire BC biomedical research community, leading to healthcare breakthroughs across the spectrum of human disease.”

Another collaboration is a health economic analysis of personalized medicine, currently being conducted by BGI and the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHEOS). The goal is to develop an economic assessment of sequencing based non-invasive prenatal testing, and an early detection test for cancer, and share the findings in peer reviewed journals, with a strategy to help disseminate information about the technology to health plan sponsors and insurance carriers worldwide.

About Providence Health Care

Providence Health Care (PHC) is one of Canada’s largest faith-based health care organizations, operating 17 health care sites in Greater Vancouver. PHC operates one of two adult academic health science centres in the province – St. Paul’s Hospital – that performs cutting-edge research in more than 30 clinical specialties, and focuses its services on six “populations of emphasis”: cardio-pulmonary risks and illnesses, HIV/AIDS, mental health, renal risks and illness, specialized needs in aging and urban health and is home to the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/

About BGI

BGI was founded in 1999 with the vision of using genomics to benefit mankind and has since become the largest genomic organization in the world. With a focus on research and applications in the healthcare, agriculture, conservation, and environmental fields, BGI has a proven track record of innovative, high profile research, which has generated over 1,000 publications. BGI’s goal is to make state-of-the-art genomics highly accessible to the global research community and clinical markets by integrating the industry’s broadest array of leading technologies, including BGI’s own sequencing platform, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources.


For more information or media interviews, please contact:

Media contact for BGI:
Kristi Heim 韩菁
Senior Director, Business Development and Communications
T: 206.778.7411

Media contact for BC:
Ann Gibbon, Senior Communications Specialist, Media Relations
Providence Health Care
T: 604.682.2344 ext. 66987| M: 604.837.6003