Sidra Medical and Research Center has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BGI-Health Asia Pacific to bring Genetic Sequencing and Population Studies to the MENA region. The partnership will establish an institute at Sidra, the first joint institute for BGI in the region.
Through its partnership with BGI, the largest genome sequencing and comprehensive genomic organization in the world, Sidra will collaborate with and provide support to all biomedical research organizations in Qatar and MENA region needing genomic analysis. The agreement places Sidra in the ranks of other BGI partners, all high performing academic centers, in the US and Europe.
Sidra’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. William Owen signed the agreement on behalf of Sidra. He said, “It is a major milestone for Sidra to partner with BGI Health, an established, world-class genomics leader. This agreement will facilitate routine, interactive relationships between Sidra and other local scientists in research and development. Obviously, this will bring important benefits to the people of Qatar and the wider region through cutting-edge genomics and R&D.”
BGI-Health Asia-Pacific’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jingxiang Li signed the agreement on behalf of BGI. He said, “We’re delighted to embark on this partnership with Sidra, and to jointly establish a genomic center of excellence with emphasis on the clinical applications of NGS (Next Generation Sequencing). An integration of BGI’s expertise on sequencing and bioinformatics, along with Sidra’s pioneering clinical and translational research, will lead to exciting prospects in the development of genomic translational medicine and personalized health care”.
The agreement provides for direct engagement and coordination between BGI-Health Asia Pacific and Sidra on genomics, research and development. Collaboration will focus on topics of common interest, including: reproductive health, new born screening, autism, hereditary cancer testing; monogenic disorder testing, and exome sequence-based personalized medical healthcare. Additionally, BGI-Health Asia Pacific will aid in genetic testing relevant to Sidra and the MENA region, namely, pre-marital, pre-conception, pre-implantation, pre-natal and pre-school testing for a large number of genes relevant to disease.
Under the terms of the agreement, the institute will utilize state-of-the-art molecular genetics equipment, reagents and specialized equipment operators, as well as state-of-the-art technologies for clinical testing. There will be specialized personnel to run informatics analyses, with education for local personnel at Sidra and in Qatar for long-term capacity building.