NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – GE Healthcare and BGI today announced a multi-year research collaboration to explore the underlying genetic variation between ethnically diverse human stem cell lines.
The goal of the deal, whose terms were not disclosed, is to advance the use of stem cell-derived assays in drug discovery and toxicity testing.
The partnership is being carried out in two projects. In the first, BGI will sequence and perform epigenetic analyses of cardiomyocytes and hepatocytes supplied by GE Healthcare Life Sciences in order to map the genetic variation across an ethnically diverse range of stem cell lines, and to investigate the changes that occur during differentiation into specific cell types. This will result in a better understanding of cell models used in drug development, they said.
In the second project, GE will provide BGI an IN Cell Analyzer 2000 system for high content cellular imaging analysis. BGI will use the platform to investigate gene function for a library of cell types that have been previously sequenced by overexpressing or blocking the activity of single genes and observing the effect in select cell populations
"As the pharmaceutical industry seeks to reduce the cost of drug development and to bring more effective, safer drugs to market, the availability of more biologically relevant and predictive cell models is becoming increasingly important," Amr Abid, general manager of Cell Technologies, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, said in a statement. "Our long term vision is to help this process by developing a broad range of Cytiva stem-cell derived assays, to include cell types from a wide diversity of ethnic backgrounds.
In collaboration with BGI, the two partners "will advance our understanding of different stem cell lines, which in turn may in the future help in the global drive to develop new, safer and more effective medicines," he added.