The Jackson Laboratory is partnering with a university in China to collaborate on genomic research to speed treatments for diseases.

The Bar Harbor biomedical research institution announced Tuesday that it intends to work with Wenzhou Medical University and its affiliated hospitals in the Ouhai District in southeast China to focus on individualized therapies for cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

The partnership combines JAX’s expertise in scientific research with WMU’s clinical expertise.

“The JAX-Wenzhou collaboration represents a significant milestone in advancing our mission to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health,” said Charles E. Hewett, chief operating officer, in a release.

The partnership will roll out in two phases. In the first phase, 75 to 100 new employees will be hired, including principal investigators and scientific and administrative staff, and a clinical research presence will be established on the campus of WMU. In the second phase, JAX anticipates building its own laboratory in an R&D incubator in Wenzhou and hiring an additional 300 to 500 people. No date for the launch of phase one was provided.

As part of the agreement, JAX will provide training for Chinese-based researchers in Wenzhou and at the lab’s JAX-Genomic Medicine facility in Farmington, Conn.

The collaboration is expected to complement ongoing work at the lab’s sites in Maine, Connecticut and California, and to benefit from shared intellectual collaboration, cross-training and other opportunities.

“The unique aspect of this collaboration focused on functional medical genomics is the scale of the capabilities in both Wenzhou and at JAX,” said Edison Liu, M.D., president and CEO of JAX, in the release. “With such scale and coordinated action, we can resolve some of the most complex questions in genomic medicine.”

JAX, a nonprofit, employs about 1,200 people at its flagship operation in Bar Harbor. The lab is known throughout the global biomedical community for its scientifically engineered mice and its research into genomics.


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