BY TOM JACKSON
Nigeria’s 54gene, an African genomics research, services and development startup, has announced the launch of the African Centre for Translational Genomics (ACTG), an initiative established to facilitate translational genomics research by African scientists.
54gene, which raised a US$4.5 million seed funding round last year and has taken part in the Y Combinator and Google Launchpad Africa accelerator programmes, is building the world’s first African DNA biobank.
The establishment of the ACTG will re-invest in the health ecosystem by empowering the next generation of African genomic scientists through the provision and implementation of grants, fellowships, internships and training for medical researchers, trainees and students.
As a first concerted effort towards achieving its mandate, the ACTG will be funding its first study under the Non-Communicable Diseases – Genetic Heritage Study (NCD-GHS) Consortium.
“In continuation with our belief at 54gene that genetic research in Africa should be ethical and beneficial to the communities we serve, and that African scientists be at the forefront of new drug discoveries that benefit Africans and the world at large, we have set up the ACTG to harness translational genetic research across Africa,” said 54gene founder Dr Abasi Ene-Obong.
“The NCD-GHS study is our pilot effort under the ACTG that has the potential to rewrite the playbook of genomics research, where African scientists will be placed at the forefront of new drug discoveries for conditions that affect the health of not only Nigerians, but greater Africa and the world.”