The Jackson Laboratory and Frasergen announce cancer genomics facility in Hubei Province, China
By Joyce Peterson
Bar Harbor, Maine, U.S.A. and Wuhan, Hubei Province, P.R.C. – The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), a nonprofit U.S.-based biomedical research institution, in conjunction with the Chinese company Wuhan Frasergen Bioinformatics Co., Ltd., announced the creation of a facility in Wuhan, China, that will enable researchers there to investigate cancers and their response to novel drugs and immunotherapies using the Laboratory’s innovative cancer tools according to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) announced in Wuhan on June 7.
Jackson Laboratory Executive Vice President Charles E. Hewett and Frasergen Bioinformatics CEO Chen Dongsheng announced plans to establish a facility in the Biolake, Wuhan, Hubei Province. Government officials from the province of Hubei and city of Wuhan attended the signing ceremony at the Queen Palace Hotel in Wuhan.
"This new arrangement will put JAX and Frasergen in the center of the Chinese biomedical research and services community," said Hewett. "We are excited to gain a foothold in this rapidly growing arena and look forward to working with our Chinese colleagues to help develop better cancer treatments and cures for people around the world. We value Frasergen’s strong and rapidly expanding bioinformatics capabilities and, even more, their integrity and commitment to mitigating the scourge of cancer."
Dongsheng Chen, CEO of Frasergen, praised the agreement. "JAX makes a terrific partner for Frasergen," said Chen. "We carefully vetted them over an 18-month period and welcome the opportunity to bring their experience and tools to Wuhan." Both Chen and Hewett expressed hope that this initial arrangement could grow into even more significant opportunities for their organizations to collaborate as their relationship matures.
Dr. Deng Zixin, President of Wuhan Institute of Biotechnology and a fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences praised the new development at Wuhan BioLake: "The joint effort between Jackson Laboratory and Frasergen will enhance biomedical research capacity in Wuhan and throughout China. It will promote translational medicine and enable a coherent transfer of basic research to clinical medicine," he commented.
The Jackson Laboratory-Frasergen collaboration in China will foster development in drug discovery and pharmaceuticals focused on personalized medicine. "Hopefully, the facility in the Wuhan BioLake will create new services," commented JAX President and CEO Edison Liu, "with customers from both basic research and industrial institutions. On the one hand, it supports research and provides services in personalized medicine in cancer and hereditary disease conditions, on the other hand, it supports the research needs for pharmaceutical entities using the technology and resources from The Jackson Laboratory."
Wuhan, a city of 10 million in Hubei Province in east-central China, lies at the hub of Chinese transportation systems and hosts a major center for the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Together, JAX and Frasergen will study tumors donated by Chinese patients, characterize them, and create a repository that will be available to support both academic and corporate scientists. JAX’s severely immune-compromised mouse, known as the NSG, will be used as a host for growing and expanding the tumors as researchers strive to understand their fundamental biology as well as the response of tumors with defined characteristics to specific therapies.
Reflecting on the potential impact on JAX’s work in the United States, Hewett noted that he expects the Chinese endeavor to be complementary to the Lab’s sites in Maine, Connecticut and California. All three JAX locations are involved in various aspects of similar research and will benefit from shared data, intellectual collaboration, and opportunities to sell mice and services to the new Chinese entity.
Noting that the new agreement, besides advancing China’s own cancer research efforts, will help JAX in the US with its own, Liu said, "The scale of this project will greatly accelerate our accumulation of detailed genomic profiles of patient cancers and, through their study, enable more accurate therapeutic prescriptions for future patients."
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs a total staff of more than 1,500. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.