Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Davis Disappointment

Some blog readers will recall that last July we raised some questions about a Berkeley grand venture with Chinese institutions.* Here's a Davis Chinese venture that seems to have fallen short of expectations:

UC Davis and a major Chinese research institute have quietly ended a four-year-old genetics partnership that had been expected to create as many as 200 jobs in Sacramento and raise the community’s technology profile. University spokesman Andy Fell said Wednesday that BGI Americas, the U.S. arm of Chinese research institute BGI, closed its genetics-sequencing laboratory in late September. Fell said the lab, housed in a 10,000-square-foot facility at the university’s School of Medicine in Sacramento, employed six workers from BGI when it closed. Fell said the lab closed by “mutual agreement,” although he added: “There were some changes in direction in the business model at BGI.” While the closure is disappointing, “we still are pleased with the collaboration over the last three years,” he said. He said UC Davis is still working with BGI on some projects. The university has moved its DNA-sequencing functions back to the Davis campus, he added. Officials with BGI couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. UC Davis invested $8 million converting the old space into a genomics lab...

At the time (of the deal), university officials said the partnership would help establish Sacramento as a hub for pharmaceutical and agricultural biotech companies, a goal the region has been pursuing for years...

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