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Partnership between Serbia and Chinese BGI Group continues through the opening of a new development center

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The Chinese company BGI Group (BGI Group) has opened a development center in Belgrade where more than 15 experts from Serbia are employed in the field of artificial intelligence, according to the announcement of the Ministry of Science, Technological Development and Innovation.

The Ministry announced yesterday that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BGI Group and that “the BIO4 campus gained another global partner” after the Swiss Roche and the Japanese Takeda.

The memorandum envisages the continuation of cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, new technologies such as synthetic biology and other advanced technologies in the field of diagnostics in medicine.

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The press release on the occasion of the signing of the memorandum states that BGI Group “already opened a development center”, but does not specify when this happened.

As a reminder, the Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation previously said that the Institute for Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering (IMGGI) plans to launch a project to sequence a thousand Balkan genomes, and that the Chinese company BGI Group plays a major role in this project and with it related companies.

The company BGI Genomics, which is part of this group, is on the list of “Chinese military companies” of the US Department of Defense.

However, BGI Group previously stated in a response to the New Economy that it “takes the issue of data security and privacy protection extremely seriously”, adding that their business is fully compliant with GDPR and local laws and regulations.

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Cooperation between Serbia and the Chinese company BGI Group (the former Beijing Institute for Genetic Research) began during the pandemic. In April 2020, China donated two “Fiery Eye” laboratories to Serbia, which are the “product” of BGI and which are used for testing for the corona virus.

The value of the donation was 710,000 euros, and Serbia “repaid” its Chinese partners by purchasing 90,000 tests.

After that, in December 2021, the Center for Genome Sequencing and Bioinformatics was opened in Belgrade at the Institute for Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering. For the opening of the Center, BGI was a “very important partner”, Begović said earlier.

As Minister Begović says, about the regional project of sequencing a thousand Balkan genomes, “they have been talking for years with Radet (Radoj) Drmanec, who is one of the vice presidents in BGI and CSO Complete Genomics from California.”


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