In the dynamic realm of bioscience, MGI Tech Co., Ltd. (MGI) has emerged as a torchbearer, captivating attention with its trailblazing achievements and relentless dedication to innovation.
Unveiling the Visionary Genomic Journey
Established in 2016, MGI was founded as a subsidiary of BGI Group. (Chinese: 华大集团). The company embarked on an independent path after a successful spin-off, cementing its status as a distinct entity. Notably, in September 2022, MGI achieved another pivotal milestone by becoming a publicly traded company on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Headquartered in Shenzhen, the company's reach extends across the globe, boasting branches in key locales such as the USA, Japan, and the UAE.
At the heart of MGI's ascent lies a steadfast commitment to research and development. As of June 30, 2023, the company's workforce of over 2,800 employees, with an impressive 35.2% dedicated to research and development endeavors, embodies this firm dedication. The company's impact spans across more than 90 countries and regions, serving a clientele of over 2,400 worldwide. MGI stands as a prominent purveyor of cutting-edge equipment and systems, designed to deliver real-time, panoramic insights across the spectrum of precision-driven fields, from medicine and agriculture to healthcare and beyond. At the forefront of innovation, MGI takes a commanding position as a premier manufacturer of high-throughput gene sequencers, catering to the clinical and research domain. In its comprehensive suite of multi-omics platforms, MGI seamlessly integrates genetic sequencing, medical imaging, and laboratory automation to drive the future of research and healthcare.
The Introduction of DNBSEQ-T20: Revolutionizing Genomic Sequencing
This year commemorates the 20th anniversary of a monumental scientific achievement: the Completion of the Working Draft of the Human Genome Sequence, a historic milestone reached back in April 2003. This monumental undertaking carried an astonishing price tag of nearly $3 billion. Fast forward to the present, the introduction of DNBSEQ-T20 into the commercial market has ushered in a transformative shift by substantially lowering the cost of personal whole-genome sequencing, now attainable for less than $100.
DNBSEQ-T20 is driven by innovative dip-immersion biochemistry, which enables the recycling of sequencing reagents, yielding remarkable savings of over 60%. Moreover, the utilization of a two-color sequencing principle, as opposed to the conventional four-color sequencing technology, delivers a 50% reduction in the consumption of optical, computing, storage, and broadband resources, slashing the sequencing price to unprecedented levels, dipping below $1 per gigabyte. These advancements underpin the competitive pricing of the MGI sequencer, which, despite its affordability, maintains a high standard of quality. A single set of DNBSEQ-T20 equipment can produce up to 50,000 whole-genome sequences per year, all for less than $100 per 30x human genome, factoring in instrument depreciation.
This remarkable development promises to not only expedite our comprehension of the human genome but also revolutionize its practical applications in the field of precision medicine and treatment, which is widely acknowledged to dominate and shape the future of healthcare. The promise of eliminating birth defects, tumors, infections, and other life-threatening diseases through precise detection and surveillance is on the horizon. At the heart of this revolution lies gene sequencing, an indispensable tool employed extensively in mechanism research and clinical diagnosis. As the affordability of sequencing becomes more accessible, a plethora of novel clinical applications stand poised to emerge, bringing humanity one step closer to the realization of improved health outcomes through genomics research.
More importantly, cheaper genome sequencing makes essential genetic screening tests available to the lower (economical) class of the population. These tests provide important information about the genetic carrier status of people, and so their children's genetic risks. It is possible to decrease the frequency of genetic diseases with genetic screening and counseling. MGI reduces the cost of gene sequencing, which will make sequencing-based health monitoring and disease prevention at the molecular level affordable for all, enhance sequencing capabilities, and accelerate scientific breakthroughs for researchers. Now many more samples can be sequenced, or a deeper more informative, and accurate sequencing can be afforded per sample.
Laboratory Automation and Life Digitization: MGI's Vision for the Future
While MGI is making waves in sequencing technology, the company's commitment extends beyond sequencing to laboratory automation. This commitment is reflected in the company's array of products, including the MGISTP series, MGISP series, and MGISP-NE series and compatible reagents and consumables, which collectively streamline sample processing, liquid handling, and nucleic acid extraction.
The MGISTP series is designed to process and track samples from tubes to 96-well plates, while the MGISP series offers multichannel automated liquid handlers capable of sample extraction and library preparation. The MGISP-NE series, on the other hand, specializes in automated nucleic acid extractions. These innovations collectively enhance laboratory efficiency, effectively translating into accelerated research outcomes.
MGI's laboratory automation products are anchored in the "liquid handling technology," complemented by the "magnetic rod technology." This hybrid approach enables efficient nucleic acid extraction and extends to library preparation. These capabilities are not confined to pathogenic microorganism detection but also stretch across a broad spectrum of automated applications, from molecular diagnostics to genetic sequencing, scientific instruments, and beyond.
In an age marked by digitization, MGI has set its sights on life digitization, particularly within healthcare. An example of this vision is the MGIUS-R3 robotic ultrasound system. This innovative technology was conceived to address the critical shortage of ultrasound specialists in rural areas while alleviating the burden on our healthcare workforce. Through a fusion of robotics, teleoperation, and ultrasound imaging, this system transcends the limitations of traditional ultrasound techniques and rectifies the uneven distribution of medical resources. Its ultimate goal? To democratize ultrasound diagnostics, making it accessible to all, regardless of geographical constraints.
Unleashing Genetic Potential Across Nations: Transformative Projects
MGI's impact is not limited to technology alone; it's about fostering partnerships and collaborations that drive progress. The company's approach transcends mere product sales, centering on empowering partners to catalyze advancements in life sciences. As MGI’s spokesperson said in the interview, “Through understanding the latest genomics needs of the global market, providing early product access, and fostering collaborations with local partners, we seek to further advance life science and provide customers around the globe with ‘the right for another choice’”. This philosophy is at the heart of MGI's expanding global influence, underscoring its enduring impact on the global stage.
MGI's influence reverberates through its pivotal role in national genomic sequencing initiatives across the world. In Thailand, the company contributes to the Genomics Thailand Initiative, aimed at sequencing the genomes of 50,000 individuals to bolster medical research and diagnosis. In Indonesia, MGI's technology plays a crucial role in the National Genome Project, creating a comprehensive genetic database. Brazil, too, benefits from MGI's innovation, supporting the nation's largest genetic database initiative.
The world is witnessing an explosion of large-scale national genome projects, indicative of the surging importance of genomics. These population genomics studies, spanning monogenic diseases, cancer, infectious diseases, and more, provide the foundation for precision and personalized medicine. MGI's role in these initiatives, underpinned by ultra-high-throughput sequencers, automated solutions, and project management expertise, cements its position at the forefront of this revolution.
As MGI continues to shape the future of genetic research, its enduring commitment to affordability, innovation, and collaboration will undoubtedly usher in a future where the genetic code is decoded for the benefit of all, heralding a healthier and more informed world.