BY TOM JACKSON
Nigerian startup 54gene has unveiled its new lab in Lagos State, capable of human whole genome sequencing and a variety of other scientific investigations.
Launched in 2019, 54gene is a research, services and development company founded that utilises human genetic data from diverse African populations to improve the development, availability and efficacy of medical products that will prove beneficial to Africans and the wider global population.
The startup raised a US$15 million Series A round last year to help it scale operations and launch new initiatives, of which there have since been plenty (see here, here, here, here and here), and it has now unveiled its new lab.
Hosting a suite of world-class molecular genomics capabilities, including the Illumina Novaseq 6000 and NextSeq 550Dx the lab is part of 54gene’s mission to enable Africans to conduct genomics research, and will be fully operational from this month. It is geared to crucially expedite internal and external research projects designed to facilitate precision medicine for Africans and the global population.
54gene is currently conducting research to discover novel biological insights based on genetic modifiers, by deriving information from its unique and rich data set. This will allow the company’s researchers to determine the underlying drivers of infectious and noncommunicable diseases prevalent on the African continent as well as genetic variants unique to its population. The new lab strengthens 54gene’s capacity to enable more research that yields insights from the world’s most diverse populations to solve some of the biggest global healthcare challenges.
“Over the last two years, our growth has been underpinned by a supremely experienced world class team, and the collaboration of key stakeholders on the continent. I am proud of the impact our work is making scientifically and economically on the African continent and globally; and the many scientists around the world, who collaborate with 54gene,” said 54gene founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Abasi Ene-Obong.
“Our vision is not just to address the health disparities in Africa but to distinctly advance research in some of the most common and rare diseases that affect the global population. To do this we need to scale our operations and continue to collaborate on cutting edge research. The possibilities are immense and we look forward to expanding this impact even more.”