We are an African genomics research, services and development company. Our goal is to include under-represented African genomic data in research to lead to medical breakthroughs and new healthcare solutions worldwide.
African genetic data makes up less than 3 percent of the global data used to develop drugs and medical diagnostic products. Additionally, the African genome is the most diverse in the world. With a background in human genetics, a PhD in cancer biology and experience as a management consultant, Abasi Ene-Obong was well equipped to bring world-class genomic research to Africa.
He founded 54gene in January 2019 and is the company’s CEO. “We started simply, initially as a consumer genetics company, and then pivoted into a research-services and development company,” Abasi says. While he was a member of Y Combinator’s 2019 class, the company gained investor trust and intellectual capital to continue building an international business.
By the middle of 2020, 54gene had grown to a team of fifty people at offices in Lagos and Washington. Backed by a $15 million Series A funding round, the next step in its growth is to codevelop drug targets and therapeutics, and create partnerships with pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic companies for clinical programs in Africa. “Sometimes it takes ten to fifteen years for drugs released in the US or Germany to reach Africa,” says Abasi. “By codeveloping these drugs, we can ensure that Africans have access to them, and also show pharmaceutical companies that they can affordably bring drugs to Africa and still make a profit.”
54gene raised a pre-seed round in early 2019. The company participated in the 2019 Y Combinator accelerator program and closed a $4.5 million seed round after the program. In 2020, it raised a $15 million Series A round led by Adjuvant Capital to scale research operations and clinical programs. In total, it has raised just over $20 million.
- Launching our pioneer study, the 54gene Heritage Study, across Nigeria.
- Creating the African Centre for Translational Genomics to facilitate research by African scientists.
- Establishing a biobank that stores our biological samples in the ideal conditions for research.
- Building Nigeria’s first COVID-19 mobile laboratory to expand testing.