MGI Tech, Chinese competitor to Illumina, faces hurdles in US genomics market

U.S. legislative actions propose banning MGI over concerns related to its ties with former parent company, BGI, amid fears of data security.

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China’s MGI Tech, known for its advanced DNA sequencers that can decode a genome for about $100, is struggling to break into the U.S. market, which is dominated by its rival, Illumina. MGI Tech, part of the BGI Group, is known for its high-throughput sequencing platforms and life science research tools for clinical high-throughput gene sequencers and automation platforms. Despite MGI’s technological promise, U.S. lawmakers’ proposed ban on MGI due to privacy concerns and its ties to China have significantly hampered MGI’s efforts to enter the market.

Concerns about MGI’s technology among some U.S. laboratories are rooted primarily in fears of data exposure to Chinese surveillance, despite assurances from Complete Genomics, MGI’s U.S. subsidiary, that it does not collect or access customer-generated data. In an attempt to challenge Illumina’s stronghold, MGI has introduced a range of sequencers that aim to make genomic sequencing more accessible and cost-effective, particularly appealing to the growing field of multi-omics – a discipline that combines genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics data to provide a more comprehensive understanding of biology.

MGI’s history dates to its parent company, Chinese genomics pioneer BGI, from which it spun off in 2022. The company’s ongoing scrutiny in the U.S. is tied to lingering concerns about its ties to BGI and the broader implications for data privacy. It underscores the challenges MGI faces amid geopolitical tensions.

Legislative initiatives to bar MGI and its affiliates from the US market have sparked a heated discussion over innovation and competition in the genomic sequencing sector. These proposed bans raise doubts about MGI’s aspirations to strengthen its position in the US and highlight the larger geopolitical concerns between the US and China.

In spite of these obstacles, MGI keeps moving forward in an effort to gain ground and reassure the American market of its dedication to innovation and consumer privacy. As it navigates these murky waters, MGI emphasizes its role in scientific discoveries and medical research, while simultaneously working to advance genomics globally and overcome legislative obstacles. The ongoing geopolitical unrest and legislative difficulties highlight the delicate balance between technological advancement and national security concerns, making the road ahead for MGI’s ambitions in the US difficult.

Source: EndpointNews

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