Collaboration in miRNA-based molecular diagnostic applications for neurodegenerative disorders


SHENZHEN, HEIDELBERG, December 6, 2017 – BGI, one of the world’s leading genomics organisations, headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, P. R. China, and Hummingbird Diagnostics GmbH, Heidelberg, Germany, an innovator in miRNA-based diagnostic tests from blood for early disease detection, today announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) intending to establish a broad collaboration in miRNA-based molecular diagnostic applications build on NGS technology. Based on previous work, which was published in Clinical Epigenetics in 2016 (, the relationship is now centred around, but not limited to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s diseases and Parkinson disease in China.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will jointly develop a broad-spectrum targeted miRNA IVD assays for Alzheimer diseases, Parkinson’s disease and other human pathologies based on Hummingbird’s expertise, sample preparation know-how, miRNA database, and analysis pipeline using BGISEQ (BGI’s own NGS platform) with unique advantages for miRNA sequencing.

Furthermore, the companies agreed to cooperate in the field of wellness, fitness and aging related questions in general.

Professor Andreas Keller, co-Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor of Hummingbird as well as Professor for Clinical Bioinformatics at Saarland University says: “We are very excited to extend our long and very positive relationship with BGI. Working with a world leading genomics company like BGI offers the unique opportunity to translate our miRNA research findings faster into personalized medicine, in the interest of patient care and human health management”.

“For an aging population as a global challenge, there is a growing impetus towards early diagnosis for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson diseases” says Jochen Kohlhaas, CEO of Hummingbird Diagnostics. “Working with BGI, the largest global genome research centre and sequencing specialist offers the possibility to advance miRNA-based diagnostics for high throughput.”

Dr. Ning Li, Chief Development Officer of BGI says: “It is very exciting to integrate BGI’s sequencing platform with Hummingbird's extensive experience in miRNA, easy sample collection and analysis for neurodegenerative diseases diagnosis development.”

“With miRNA big data analysis, we hope to find better quantification indexes of aging.” Dr. Jian Wang, co-founder and chairman of BGI Group, also expressed his full support about this collaboration.

About Hummingbird Diagnostics:

Hummingbird Diagnostics GmbH is a privately held company in Heidelberg, Germany, developing patient-friendly diagnostics for early disease detection based on miRNA biomarkers from blood, in particular for malignant tumors. In addition, the company is working on life-accompanying tests for healthy aging.

About BGI:

BGI Group is one of the world’s largest genomics organizations. The Group was founded in 1999 with the vision of using genomics to benefit humanity and has been growing exponentially since then. With a focus on research and applications in the healthcare, agriculture, conservation, and environmental fields, BGI Group has a proven track record of innovative, high profile research and operates China National Genome Bank through governmental contracts.

For further information please contact:

Hummingbird Diagnostics GmbH

Im Neuenheimer Feld 583
D-69120 Heidelberg

phone +49 (0)6221 91433-10
fax +49 (0)6221 91433-12

BGI Group

Build 11, Beishan Industrial Zone,
Yantian District
518083, Shenzhen

phone +86-755-36307888
fax +86-755-36307273