NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Women's health diagnostics company Inex Innovations Exchange announced today a partnership with BGI to create a next-generation sequencing facility in Singapore to offer molecular genetic tests.
The first test to be offered will be iGeneScreen, a non-invasive test developed by BGI to detect fetal chromosomal abnormalities. Using a 5 milliliter blood sample from expectant mothers at 12 weeks or later into their pregnancies, the test analyzes fetal DNA in maternal blood for trisomies 21, 18, and 13.
Other firms such as Sequenom, Lifecodexx — which licenses technology from Sequenom — Verinata Health, Ariosa Diagnostics, and Natera offer similar tests or plan to offer such tests. According to Inex Executive Director Sidney Yee, however, as a result of today's deal, Singapore will be the only facility in Asia, outside of China, to offer such a test.
"This entity is poised to be a center of excellence facility that receives and processes tests from South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Australasia," she said in a statement, adding the BGI partnership is mutually beneficial "in that they will provide the molecular genomic facility and a wealth of sequencing and bioinformatics expertise, and we will offer the technical infrastructure, regional knowledge, and distribution network."
The facility in Singapore is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2013.
"This new state of the art facility here in Singapore is an important next step for BGI, as Singapore is renowned for its robust regulatory framework, highly-skilled molecular technologists, and its excellent reputation for translational research and medical diagnostics," BGI COO Yin Ye said. "Furthermore, Inex's long experience and research innovation in molecular diagnostics makes it a natural choice for us to partner with here in Singapore.
"With this facility here in Singapore, and working closely with Inex, we are looking forward to expanding our influence and offerings within the sphere of medical genomics and medical diagnostics in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.