NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shanghai Biochip is looking to move beyond its role as a contract research organization and into the molecular diagnostics market, according to an executive of the firm.
Huasheng Xiao, vice president of SBC, told GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication BioArray News during a visit to the firm's headquarters last month that the company will in January begin accepting samples for various clinical tests via a subsidiary called Shanghai Biomedical Laboratory, of which he is general manager. While he did not disclose the conditions and diseases for which SBC will begin testing, he said that the firm would employ a variety of technologies in developing assays.
"We will make the decision based on clinical needs," Xiao said. "If it requires array technology, then we will use array technology," he said. "If it requires real-time PCR, we will use RT-PCR."
SBC, which was formed 11 years ago, already has a bevy of genomics research instruments at hand. In addition to RT-PCR, next-generation sequencing, and other analysis options, it offers array-based services on the Affymetrix, Agilent Technologies, and Illumina microarray platforms. In addition, SBC manufactures DNA, protein, and tissue microarrays.
As the firm is supported in part by the Chinese government, it also acts as the National Engineering Research Center for Biochip Design and Engineering at Shanghai.
These resources have made SBC a partner for a number of large pharmas. Xiao named AstraZeneca and Roche as collaborators, while the company's website also lists GlaxoSmithKline and Merck as partners.
But Xiao sees the firm expanding into the promising clinical market to become a third-party provider of clinical testing services, akin to Laboratory Corporation of America or Quest Diagnostics in the US. He said that Shanghai Biomedical Laboratory is at the "final stage" of securing Chinese Ministry of Health certification to offer clinical tests.
Xiao also mentioned pharmacogenomics to guide cancer treatment as a potential offering for the firm. He said that SBC could introduce chromosomal microarray analysis in the future, but noted that such a test would require clearance from the China Food and Drug Administration, or SFDA, before SBC could make it available to its customers.
Ultimately, SBC's test menu will include a mix of externally and internally produced products, Xiao said, and the firm has an R&D department developing new tests, but he didn't elaborate on their efforts.
For a more in-depth look at SBC and the Chinese MDx market please see this article in BioArray News.