A joint research laboratory to change the landscape of genomic and translational research

News Release from the Vancouver Prostate Centre and Beijing Genomics Institute

Shenzhen, China – The Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) and BGI, the world’s largest genomics organization, based in China, announce the establishment of the BGI-VPC Joint Research Laboratory, a sequencing and translational research facility for immediate use located at the VPC facilities in Vancouver. This partnership will change the landscape of genomic and translational research in British Columbia and across Canada.

BGI and the VPC established the Joint Research Laboratory to jointly discover and develop new biomarkers and cancer therapeutics. The international partnership brings two highly complementary teams together. BGI is the world’s largest genomic institute while the VPC is a global leader in team driven translational research in bladder, kidney and prostate cancer.  This is the first collaboration between BGI and any Canadian research institution and represents a significant investment in Canada

The BGI-VPC Joint Research Laboratory will apply genome research to advance basic and translational programs in oncology. Over the next five years, scientists will utilize clinical expertise, a unique repository of metastatic and post-treated cancer specimens, cutting edge genomics and, with Dr. Yuzhuo Wang, unique and clinically relevant patient derived xenograft models to dissect the inner workings of tumours with the goals of improving patient outcomes and quality of life through development of targeted therapies and ultimately evidence based precision oncology.

BGI has begun moving state-of-the-art DNA sequencing instruments to VPC to dramatically increase the sequencing capacity available to Canadian researchers for collaborative projects.  The new facility will support research collaborations across Canada significantly expanding translational and genome research and having a positive impact the economy of Canada while strengthening ties between Canada and China.

It is anticipated that collaborative research agreements will range from health and agriculture to environmental research. However, “the primary focus of this agreement is deeper understanding of advanced and drug resistant cancers with the implicit goal of improved quality of life for patients,” says Dr. Colin Collins, Professor at the University of British Columbia and Senior Scientist and Director of Laboratory for Advanced Genome Analysis at VPC. “This partnership is creating tangible synergy that will expand and accelerate our drug discovery pipeline for cancer patients” says Dr. Martin Gleave, Director of the VPC.  


The Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) has a track record of success that has earned it a reputation as one of the world’s most respected cancer facilities.  It is a National Centre of Excellence and a designated Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research. VPC is focused on improving longevity and quality of life for patients in BC, and around the world. It is hosted by the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the University of British Columbia, and receives substantial financial support from the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation.

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI), a world leader in translational health research, is the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. VCHRI includes three of BC’s largest academic and teaching health sciences centres — Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre — as well as many other hospitals and public health agencies across Vancouver Coastal Health. VCHRI is academically affiliated with UBC Faculty of Medicine and is one of Canada’s top funded research centres receiving between $80-100 million in research funding annually. Over 1500 personnel are engaged in a variety of research centres, programs and evolving research areas.

Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) was founded in Beijing in 1999 with the mission of supporting the development of science and technology, building strong research teams, and promoting the development of scientific partnership in genomics field. BGI’s headquarter in Shenzhen is the first citizen-managed, non-profit research institution in China. With the integrative structure of research innovation, platform development and industrial application, BGI aims to develop research collaboration and provide scientific support to scientists all over the world, contribute to the advancement of innovative biology research, molecular breeding, healthcare and related fields. 

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