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Natera, BGI Genomics collaborate to commercialize DNA test in China

San Carlos, Calif.-based diagnostic company Natera Inc. is partnering with Shenzhen-listed BGI Genomics Co. Ltd. to commercialize its custom tumor DNA test in China.

Under the 10-year agreement, Natera's Signatera custom tumor DNA test will initially be offered in China through a specialty hospital network. The test will be offered more broadly upon receipt of Chinese regulatory approval for use of Signatera on BGI Genomics' DNBseq next-generation sequencing technology platform.

The partnership also includes the development of reproductive health tests in select markets on BGI Genomics' sequencing instruments through the DNBseq platform.

Natera will receive $50 million in up-front licensing fees, prepaid royalties and future milestone payments from BGI Genomics. Meanwhile, Natera will prepay BGI Genomics $6 million for sequencing services related to the collaboration.

In September 2018, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. agreed to use Signatera in a mid-stage study testing its blockbuster drug Opdivo as an additional therapy for patients with lung cancer. Additionally, Neon Therapeutics Inc. in October 2018 said it will use Signatera in an early-stage lung cancer trial evaluating a combination of its NT-002 drug and Merck & Co. Inc.'s Keytruda plus chemotherapy.