Startups Profile

54gene: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds

54gene: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds
54gene

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong started 54gene in 2019 to meet a major need in the global genomics market.

54gene was made to get more African communities involved in genomics research, which would lead to better discovery, diagnosis, and treatment for African people.

Together with health and research institutions in African countries, they get first-hand information and samples to study.

They also have a modern biobank where biological samples can be kept safe until they are needed for more research.

Even though Africans and people of African descent have more genetic diversity than all other global populations combined, only 2% of the world’s population is African.

Therefore, pharmaceutical research and development are missing out on potential data diversity that could lead to important medical discoveries and innovative new healthcare solutions.

How it Works

Drug Discovery

Their GENIISYSTM platform is made up of a large and quickly growing bio- and data-repository of consenting research participants with a wide range of phenotypes.

Cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, sickle cell, autoimmune and rare diseases, and infectious diseases are just a few of the many types of diseases that could be helped by research that is fueled by this rich dataset.

As an industry leader in advancing knowledge from the African genome, 54gene uses its in-house data analytics and bioinformatics skills to translate genomics data into insights that power therapeutic target development on a global scale.

Additionally, they are investing in Africa’s infrastructure and building partnerships within the ecosystem to improve the continent’s precision medicine capabilities. This will help Africans get better health care and make sure that the African genome is always a part of global research.

Molecular Diagnostics

To make up for Africa’s lack of molecular diagnostics, 54gen has used its labs to make targeted diagnostics panels that can quickly and accurately diagnose a wide range of illnesses, from cancer to infectious diseases.

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They are laying the groundwork for everyone to have access to precision medicine that takes into account the unique genetic variations and frequencies seen in Africa’s population by making diagnostic tests that are both accurate and affordable.

They are also changing the way healthcare is given by giving patients, doctors, and insurance companies better information so they can make better decisions about how to treat their patients.

Therefore, research can move in a good direction with the help of the area’s skilled local experts, a large network of locations, and a well-established infrastructure.

Trial Management

There are many different kinds of research projects. 54gen can adapt it to meet the needs of the research projects of each of their business partners because their method is flexible.

They can also do all of the research or just a part of it depending on what the client wants.

Regulatory Affairs

Regulatory filings that are made for each location may seem like a lot of work but With the help of 54gene’s regulatory strategy and operational help, clinical validation and market access for new medical products in the area could be sped up.

Project Management

Their ways of managing projects and the tools they use are made to maximize quality, efficiency, and cost at every stage. 

They also plan, coordinate, and carry out projects from beginning to end, taking your budget and other needs into account.

Sample and Supply Management

During all phases of a clinical trial, their highly trained teams have the skills and experience to follow your study supply and sample management requirements.

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Laboratory Testing

54gene can analyze samples from a wide variety of diseases for use in clinical trials using technology.

Pharmacovigilance

The safety of patients, the effectiveness of clinical trials, and the legitimacy of goods after they have been approved all depend on the timely and accurate collection, analysis, and reporting of product safety data.

Founders

Abasi Ene-Obong

The idea for 54gene, an African genomics startup, came from Dr. Abasi Ene-vision Obong’s plan to make the first pan-African biobank.

Abasi worked as a management consultant at PwC and IQVIA, where he advised pharmaceutical companies, universities, and governments before joining 54gene.

Abasi also has a background in cancer research and is the author of a landmark paper on the immunology of pancreatic cancer that was published in Gastroenterology.

Abasi got a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of London, an M.S. in human molecular genetics from Imperial College London, and an MBA from Claremont Graduate University in California.

Ogochukwu Francis Osifo

He is one of the co-founders of Stack Diagnostics and the CTO of the company. He was in charge of groups that made products for companies like Visa, DFID, Microsoft, and others.

Osifo is also the CTO for DiagnoseMe.Africa. He started Inspire-Soft Limited and is now the CEO of the company. He also worked as a Program Manager at Passion Incubator.

His bachelor’s degree is in computer science from Nigeria’s National Open University.

Gatumi Aliyu

Gatumi is the co-founder of 54gene who has worked in the healthcare and technology industries for more than seven years as a team leader, manager, and member.

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During his time at Zone Tech Park, he has helped more than 60 startups develop their ideas and grow.

Before that, he worked at Renaissance Capital, an investment bank for developing countries, where he did a stock analysis, mostly on consumer goods.

Gatumi got his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in the United States. There, he was also President Pro Tempore of the Student Senate (first for an international student).

Then, to follow his dream of becoming a doctor, he went to the University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Investors & Funding Rounds

 Y Combinator, Fifty Years, Better Ventures, KdT Ventures, Hack VC and Techammer

Early-stage venture capital firm Microtraction gave 54gene a large amount of seed money to help it build its platform. The Y Combinator and Google Launchpad Africa accelerator programs have also accepted 54gene.

With this money, 54gene will be able to put electronic data capture systems in the best hospitals in Nigeria, hire more people in Nigeria and the US, and make the first African DNA biobank.

Main Competitors

Kytopen: It made a cell therapy platform to make it easier to deliver chemicals to immune cells without using viruses. 

hC Bioscience: This has been at the forefront of making modified tRNA that can be used in protein editing.

Lycia Therapeutics: It is a biotech company that is a leader in the field of chimeras that target lysosomes.

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