54gene, a Nigerian genomics research, services, and development company, closed a Series A round of $15M.
The round was led by Adjuvant Capital, a life sciences fund backed by the International Finance Corporation, Novartis, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with participation from Raba Capital, V8 Capital, Ingressive Capital, and follow on investment from Y Combinator, Better Ventures, Fifty Years, KdT Ventures, Aera VC and Pioneer Fund.
The company intends to use the funds to scale operations in support of generating novel insights from human genetics research that result in high impact discoveries for improving human health through therapeutic development and to accelerate discovery capabilities by bolstering operations in genetics, bioinformatics, preclinical, clinical and commercial programs.
Launched in January 2019 by CEO Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, 54gene aims to improve the development, availability and efficacy of medical products that will prove beneficial to Africans and the wider global population. As part of its next stage of growth, the company will further explore partnerships and opportunities for co-development of drug targets and therapeutics, and expects to partner with pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic companies for clinical programs in Africa, which will be led by newly appointed Vice President of Clinical & Regulatory Affairs, Kemi Williams, who was formerly Head of Clinical Affairs for Siemens Healthineers US molecular diagnostics business, and previously worked at Roche, Abbott and Medtronic.
54gene currently works with 300+ researchers, clinicians and geneticists across the continent, to improve the global collective knowledge of genomic determinants of health and to facilitate translational research. The company has also built an African Biobank, a biorepository which stores biological samples to provide access to aggregated, de-identified data and bio-specimen mainly for secondary use by researchers, to support both academic and development research.
In addition to its Series A raise, 54gene is also announcing the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board [SAB], which is composed of global leaders in clinical genetics, bioinformatics and data science
- Michael F. Murray MD, Director of Clinical Operations, Center for Genomic Health Professor Dept of Genetics, Yale School of Medicine,
- Manuel Rivas PhD, Assistant Professor at Stanford University,
- Greg Hinkle PhD, VP Research Informatics, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and
- Jeff Hammerbacher, Founder and General Partner, Related Sciences.