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BGI Genomics Leads Innovation with Inaugural Clinical Lab in Uruguay

Cutting-edge facility to serve as a beacon for preventive medicine in Latin America

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, April 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — BGI Genomics, a global leader in integrated precision medicine solutions, has established a new clinical laboratory at Uruguay’s Parque de las Ciencias free trade zone. This facility is poised to become a regional hub, advancing preventive medicine across Latin America and utilizing advanced technology to facilitate early disease diagnosis.

The inauguration was attended by Omar Paganini, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Elisa Facio, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining; and Karina Rando, Minister of Public Health, along with other national and departmental dignitaries. Dr. Yin Ye, CEO of BGI Group, the parent company of BGI Genomics, was also in attendance. Notably, Minister Rando had previously visited the site in August 2023, while Minister Facio met with Dr. Yin Ye in China in November 2023.

The inauguration was attended by Omar Paganini, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Elisa Facio, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining; and Karina Rando, Minister of Public Health, along with other national and departmental dignitaries. Dr. Yin Ye, CEO of BGI Group, the parent company of BGI Genomics, was also in attendance.
The inauguration was attended by Omar Paganini, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Elisa Facio, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining; and Karina Rando, Minister of Public Health, along with other national and departmental dignitaries. Dr. Yin Ye, CEO of BGI Group, the parent company of BGI Genomics, was also in attendance.

This laboratory, the first of its kind in the region, specializes in precision medicine applications. It is 1,000 square meters and dedicated exclusively to the company’s operations.

This facility boasts a Huo-Yan Air Laboratory equipped with seven cabins that cover the entire genetic testing process: sample handling, extraction, sequencing, analysis, quality control, and report generation. The facility also features an advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system and unique design elements to prevent contamination between cabins.

Currently, the laboratory employs Uruguayan technicians specializing in biochemistry and biotechnology. These technicians are supported by application experts from China who are providing training on the latest technology used by BGI Genomics.

The company has developed the Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology, which has revolutionized genomics and molecular biology. With this technology, BGI Genomics aims to make genetic testing more accessible and affordable, to support earlier diagnoses across Latin America.

Elisa Facio, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, mentioned, “At the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining we are focused on promoting innovation, emerging technologies and science. Therefore, when BGI Genomics decided to launch its first Latin American laboratory in Uruguay, it was excellent news for our ministry and for the country. We understand that biotechnology is an economically booming sector, with a lot of potential, that is why we are making efforts to position the country in this field of science. The fact that this world leader in biotechnology, present in more than 100 countries worldwide, has decided to set up in Uruguay is a sign that we are on the right track.”

Natalia Pereiras, laboratory director, stated, “Our main goal is to bring these advanced diagnostic tools to the population at an affordable cost. By developing both the product and the methodology in-house, we can reduce costs significantly compared to other labs.”

Wu Liang, general manager for Latin America at BGI Genomics, highlighted Uruguay’s strategic advantages, including its location near the Carrasco Airport and the benefits of operating within a free trade zone. “We are positioned to bring earlier diagnoses of genetic diseases to all of Latin America. Preventive medicine and technologies like pharmacogenetics are crucial for the future,” he remarked.

BGI Genomics also developed an extensive oncology portfolio. Among these offerings is the COLOTECT product utilizing Real-Time PCR technique, used for detecting colorectal cancer, which is the third most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in Uruguay, following lung carcinoma. In addition, the SENTIS portfolio allows for the testing of 688 cancer-related genes from tumor biopsies, followed by testing 290 drugs that help select the most suitable treatment for the patient. These molecular biology techniques are valuable tools that can assist clinicians and are non-invasive.

Another major focus of BGI Genomics is reproductive health, and among its products is NIFTY, which provides prenatal screening from the tenth week of gestation using a blood sample to analyze DNA. The conventional NIFTY test studies trisomy or the presence of an additional chromosome in pairs 13, 18, and 21, which are the most prevalent. This test detects certain microdeletions or losses of chromosomal material, as well as duplications. Additionally, the company developed NIFTY Pro, which is a more comprehensive test that can detect DiGeorge syndrome, among other disorders, caused by the deletion of a small part of chromosome 22.

About BGI Genomics

BGI Genomics, headquartered in Shenzhen, China, is the world’s leading integrated solutions provider of precision medicine. Its services cover more than 100 countries and regions, involving more than 2,300 medical institutions and 10,000 employees worldwide. In July 2017, as a subsidiary of BGI Group, BGI Genomics (300676.SZ) officially began trading on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

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