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Merck and BGI Collaborating on Biomarker Discovery, Development of Genomic Technologies


Merck and China's BGI said this week that they are collaborating to discover and characterize diagnostic and drug development biomarkers "across a wide range of therapeutic areas" and to develop genomic technologies.

Both partners will propose projects and provide resources, expertise, samples, and other research material to conduct them.

The strategic collaboration combines BGI's capabilities in genome sequencing and analysis and Merck's expertise in drug development. The partners "hope to apply BGI's comprehensive next-gen sequencing solutions to develop important new tools to aid drug development and enable effective tailoring of medicines to those patients most likely to respond," according to Jeffrey Chodakewitz, vice president of late stage development at Merck Research Laboratories.

The new agreement follows a "statement of intent" to collaborate that the two partners signed a year ago (IS 9/21/2010), with the "goal of creating value from the massive output of genomic information enabled by next-generation, high-throughput DNA sequencing and analysis technologies."

The Scan

Should've Been Spotted Sooner

Scientists tell the Guardian that SARS-CoV-2 testing issues at a UK lab should have been noticed earlier.

For Martian Fuel

Researchers have outlined a plan to produce rocket fuel on Mars that uses a combination of sunlight, carbon dioxide, frozen water, cyanobacteria, and engineered E. coli, according to Gizmodo.

To Boost Rapid Testing

The Washington Post writes that new US programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests.

PNAS Papers on Strawberry Evolution, Cell Cycle Regulators, False-Positive Triplex Gene Editing

In PNAS this week: strawberry pan-genome, cell cycle-related roles for MDM2 and MDMX, and more.