The Jackson Laboratory expands genomics research presence to Wenzhou, China to speed treatments for disease
By Sarah Laskowski
Farmington, Conn, U.S.A. and Ouhai District, Wenzhou PRC — The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), a U.S.-based nonprofit biomedical research institution, announced that it will expand into China through a strategic collaborative clinical genomics research agreement with three groups in Wenzhou, a prefecture-level city in China's southeastern Zhejiang province.
The Laboratory will collaborate with the Wenzhou Municipal People's Government, Ouhai District People's Government (WZ), and Wenzhou Medical University and its affiliated hospitals (WMU), to conduct research on the genomic propensities for disease. Under the agreement, WZ and WMU will form the “Wenzhou Institute for Genomic Medicine” (WIGM), which will conduct research under JAX’s scientific direction and management. The collaboration will provide The Jackson Laboratory with access to the clinical experience and expertise of the medical university and its affiliated hospitals, while WMU will gain access to JAX's years of research and scientific expertise.
On Sunday, June 4, Mayor Zhang Geng of Wenzhou; Mayor Wang of the District of Ouhai; WMU Professor Qu Jia; JAX President and CEO Edison Liu; and JAX Chief Operating Officer & EVP Charles Hewett signed their strategic agreement during a ceremony at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut.
"The United States and China are the world’s largest economies and China’s research capacity is growing rapidly. Working together in our shared quest to improve human health, we will better understand the roles genes play in disease and significantly accelerate the development of treatments and cures for people around the world,” said Hewett.
A unique aspect of the JAX-Wenzhou collaboration is the scale of the capabilities in both Wenzhou and at JAX. “Integral to our mission is our commitment to fostering collaborations around the globe to develop insights into the genetic causes of disease,” stated Liu. “The JAX-Wenzhou collaboration will enable us to catalyze breakthrough discoveries for some of the most complex questions regarding genetic and genomic causes of human disease. The coupling of WMU’s clinical scale with our technological and biological expertise will be highly synergistic.”
JAX will initiate medical genomics research collaborations among WMU and JAX faculty both in the United States and China. Collaborative work regarding the structure of DNA by Professor Yijun Ruan, the development of cardiomyopathies by Dr. Travis Hinson, and pediatric brain tumors by Dr. Ching Lau has already begun. The JAX-Wenzhou collaboration complements the Laboratory’s work in Maine, Connecticut and California, and will benefit from shared intellectual collaboration, cross training and other opportunities.
Two phase collaboration
The JAX-Wenzhou collaboration will take place in two phases. The first phase will establish a clinical research presence on the campus of WMU and in the Life & Health Town of Ouhai District, Wenzhou, where approximately 50 to 70 new staff in six research groups will conduct research and clinical genomics.
In the second phase, a standalone state of the art facility will be built in Life and Health Town in the Ouhai District near WMU Affiliated Hospital #1 and will house both clinical genomics and mouse-based functional research laboratories. The WIGM will employ an additional 200 faculty and staff in 15 anticipated research groups. The Life & Health Town will construct a 200,000 square foot space for this new facility in the planned development of a new Health Industry Innovation Center, an R&D incubator for the biomedical industry.
About The Jackson Laboratory
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs 1,900 staff, and its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health. For more information, please visit www.jax.org.