African genomics startup 54gene raises $25M to expand precision medicine capabilities – TechCrunch

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Less than 3% of the genetic material used in global pharmaceutical research comes from Africa. For Africans and Africans, the astonishing gap is very amazing Will be reported To have more Genetically More diverse than any other population..

Since its launch in 2019, African genomics startup 54gene has been at the forefront of bridging this gap in the global genomics market... Today, the company has secured $ 25 million in Series B funding to step up its efforts.

The round will take place one year after the company, founded by Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, raised $ 15 million in Series A, and two years after completing the $ 4.5 million seed round.

In total, 54gene has raised over $ 45 million since then. Inception..

The African Continent continues to be a valuable source of new genetic information for health and drug discovery research, as the world’s analyzed genomes come primarily from outside Africa...

This is where the work of 54gene is related.The company conducts and leverages this study to confirm that Africans are recipients of future drug and medical discoveries...

When taking up the company last year, CEO Ene-Obong revealed that 54gene is looking for voluntary participants to donate gene samples via cotton swabs or blood tests to carry out this study. Did...

It still works very much like this. HoweverInstead of relying on third-party health centers such as hospitals to send samples abroad for analysis, 54gene Launched its own genetic sequencing and microarray lab In Lagos last September.. The company did this in partnership with Illumina, a US-based biotechnology company.

Talk to TechCrunch, says Ene-Obong Furthermore In addition to the genotyping capabilities provided, the lab also offers whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and whole-exome sequencing (WES)...

Don’t get bored of you in jargon, but that’s why this is important. Genotyping tends to show only 0.02% of an individual’s DNA.However, WGS can display almost 100% of the same person’s DNA.

In the case of WES, it represents only 1.5% of the human genome, but about 85% of known disease-related mutants.

By implementing these three, the company will be able to promote genomics research and expand its ability to support African scientists and researchers...

Unlike other fast-moving sectors like fintech and e-commerce, healthtech innovation takes time to finally take shape... 54gene is one of the few startups in this sector, and even in Africa, to move from seed stage to Series B in less than two years.

This terrifying speed makes me wonder what the company is doing right.So I ask the CEO if it’s a company surely Significant progress has been made in the progress of genomics in Africa. He answers affirmatively.

“In biotechnology, the arc of conducting early research through drug approval can be long, but we have taken an approach to build that backbone. Is required For short-term success in the long-term benefits of providing better medical care and treatment outcomes from the disease, “he added...

father In setting up the first lab, the CEO says he has quintupled his biobanking capabilities and sees it as a huge success.

During its final procurement, 54gene had a biobank capacity of 60,000 samples. With Ene-Obong’s comment, the company two years ago now owns a biobank with over 300,000 samples and is approaching its long-term goal of managing up to 500,000.

The other is the recruitment and training of talent to generate and process the data needed to generate insights into a company’s drug discovery activities...

In Nigeria With a shortage of experienced clinicians and a few remaining people left behind, it’s not hard to understand why it’s a win for the company. Knowing this, 54gene plans to use some of its new funding to hire and train more professionals...

Use of other funds will expand Its function in sequencing, target identification and validation, and precision medicine clinical trials.. Expansion to the entire African Continent is also very important.

To support this expansion, 54gene needs to carry out a partnership.A recent incident occurred between the company and the Tanzanian Human Genetics Organization, says Ene-Obong. 54gene is at various stages of conversation with more partners. But he closed his mouth tightly about who they were.

“we Excited About Africa’s first approach to expand to East and West African countries next year, “he added.

54gene has made several hires for this purpose: Michelle Ephraim, Colm O’Dushlaine, Peter Fekkes, Teresia Bost, Jude Uzonwanne — All He has decades of experience with companies such as Leica Biosystems, Regeneron Genetic Center, Novartis, Celgene and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation...

The Pan-African venture capital firm Cathay Afric Invest Innovation Fund led the round. The main investor of the company Series A Financing, Adjuvant Capital, KdT Ventures, Plexo Capital, effort Capital and Ingressive Capital..

African genomics startup 54gene raises $25M to expand precision medicine capabilities – TechCrunch Source link African genomics startup 54gene raises $25M to expand precision medicine capabilities – TechCrunch

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