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Fred Hutch President Gary Gilliland, left, and BGI Chairman and Co-founder Dr. Jian Wang sign a collaboration agreement between the two organizations. (Fred Hutch Photo / Robert Hood)

Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and BGI, a giant in global genomics sciences, announced Tuesday that they are planning to collaborate on projects in a number of areas.

The collaboration could see the organizations engage in “mutually agreeable projects in a range of research areas, including cancer genomics, immunology and infectious disease studies,” BGI said in a press release.

“We are very fortunate to have an outstanding institution like Fred Hutch as a partner of BGI,” said BGI chairman and co-founder Dr. Jian Wang, who worked as a researcher at Fred Hutch’s close partner, the University of Washington, in the 1990s. “We are looking forward to working together closely to accelerate breakthroughs and improve people’s health and well-being, not only in the US and China but around the world.”

Potential research collaborations will benefit from BGI’s genomic sequencing technology and Fred Hutch’s expertise in cancer research and analytics. The organizations will also jointly explore the possibility of establishing partnerships with hospitals and research institutions in China and Africa, BGI said.

“We look forward to exploring and working with BGI on many important research projects, with the shared goal of ensuring that more people around the world can benefit from new discoveries and better treatments,” Dr. Edus Houston Warren said. Warren heads Fred Hutch’s global oncology work. Cancer is becoming an increasing health concern in developing countries.

BGI, which is based in Shenzhen, China, opened a West Coast Innovation Center last year, with offices in Seattle and San Diego. Although it has collaborated with individual research teams at Fred Hutch in the past, this is the first global collaboration agreement between the organizations.

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