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On May 4th, 2018, BGI Americas celebrated its 8th anniversary at Boston's historic Long Wharf with company leaders and industry pioneers, including BGI Genomics CEO Ye Yin, BGI co-founder Huangming Yang, Nobel Laureate Walter Gilbert, Harvard and MIT geneticist George Church, forensic scientist Henry Lee and more than 100 other honored guests from the local research and industry community, as well as BGI employees in the US.
The 8th anniversary of BGI Americas is a milestone for the entire BGI family, marking a new chapter for BGI's international network and North America development. Several major new partnerships were announced at the ceremony. BGI signed a collaboration agreement with Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto to place the first BGISEQ instrument in North America and to jointly develop a genomic test to screen women at risk of preterm birth during early pregnancy. At the same time, BGI announced a collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University on pancreatic cancer precision medicine, using BGI sequencing technologies to jointly profile patient cohorts using genomic assays. "We are excited to advance new collaborations with world-class academic and medical institutions in North America, " said BGI Genomics CEO Yin Ye.
"The past eight years have witnessed many milestone events of BGI's global expansion, which aligns with BGI's mission to improve global human health through omics technology innovation, and its drive to make precision medicine affordable and accessible to the public, " he added.
Dr. Walter Gilbert, currently Chairman of the Harvard Society of Fellows and the 1980 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, and Dr. George M. Church, Professor of Genetics, and Health Sciences and Technology of Harvard and MIT, were the featured speakers at the celebration event. Dr. Church shared his journey with BGI. He joined both CGI and BGI simultaneously in 2007. The two companies eventually became one in 2013, with BGI's acquisition of Complete Genomics. "I don't know if I played any role in matchmaking, but it was wonderful to see my two favorite companies come together in such a productive marriage." Dr. Church is a longtime advisor to BGI, and last year BGI launched the George Church Institute of Regenesis. His speech was both meaningful and humorous. "I see that we are now sequencing all of the eukaryotic genomes. And I started to worry what do we do after we sequence all of the genomes? And so, as we know, we have the proposal that we will now have to start synthesizing genomes, so we have things to sequence."
The presentations struck a chord with Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world's foremost forensic scientists. He has consulted on more than 8,000 criminal cases, and he is now working together with BGI on developing applications of the human genome to solve crime problems. Lee said he has travelled to more than 70 countries. "If you ask the citizens what they worry about the most, what they care about the most – it’s health, wealth, and safety, " Lee said. "I am glad that BGI looks at every aspect of that. " He ended his speech with a toast, "BGI, if you move a little bit, I-B-G, by giving to the boy, like doctor Yang says, a "G, " in another couple of years, go be the giant for the world. "
Over the past years, BGI has made great achievements in innovation, scientific excellence, and research. With its unique vision to develop products to solve big global problems and change the business paradigm to focus on quality of life and health, and long-term impact over short-term gain, BGI has been developing cutting-edge technology that revolutionizes genomics research and healthcare, while offering the lowest price in the industry. Ranked No.1 in bilateral collaboration in the Nature index, BGI is recognized as a top producer of research and a leader in global collaboration. "BGI's success could not be achieved without our active engagement in global partnerships," said Charles Bao, general manager of BGI Americas. "With our continued commitment to technology innovation, we hope to better enable genomics research and development, with the aim of improving healthcare, agriculture and environmental preservation for a better life. "