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3 Key Principles That Helped Jen Nwankwo Raise $22M For Her Biopharma Company

Jen Nwankwo was inspired to start 1910 Genetics by an occurrence that happened more than a century ago. James Bryan Herrick published the first case of sickle cell anemia in Western literature in 1910. The patient, Walter Clement Noel, a Grenada-born dental student, had pear-shaped red blood cells.

He died when he was 32 years old. Jen, who grew up in Nigeria before relocating to the United States of America, was profoundly affected by this tragedy. Because of the damage caused by the disease in her own country, she developed an attachment as a pharmacologist studying sickle cell for her dissertation studies.

Nigeria has the highest number of sickle cell disease patients in the world. Between 20 and 30 percent of Nigerian people are infected. Many individuals continue to die as a result of the disease’s consequences, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Jen became interested in leveraging technology to find solutions to some of these catastrophic diseases on humans after discovering this information while performing her Ph.D. study, which led to the identification of a novel medication target for sickle cell disease.

She used her aim to make AI the foundation of medicine research, which she formally implemented in 2018. According to genetic engineering and biotechnology news, a Series A funding headed by Microsoft venture capital fund, M12, and Silicon Valley early-stage investment firm, Playground Global, earned $22 million in money to support its efforts.

Jen discovered some lessons from her experience in starting 1910 Genetics that she believes are the reasons for her company’s success.

The first lesson which led to the formation of 1910 Genetics was the implementation of the concept of trial and error. Almost all medications in the pharmaceutical industry are developed through trial and error. If the research and development team makes a breakthrough, it is celebrated, regardless of how many failures occur during the process.

Jen chose the lessons and utilized them as the foundation for her organization to make the discovery less startling. In the similar way, 1910 Genetics is employing AI to gain insights from years of data accumulated throughout the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals for the market. The team takes the same technique to determining the source of a patient’s ailment and then designs a model to manage the medical issue based on the findings.

The second principle Jen took away during her journey to entrepreneurship was to listen to what the market wants.

What consumers want may not match a founder’s vision, but it is critical to remember that the market is always correct. She mentioned how investors are interested in 1910 Genetics’ technology and its potential to benefit people with a variety of medical issues.

Although a company may be focused on specific sectors, entrepreneurs should be open to considering investor proposals. In that situation, she advises corporate executives and entrepreneurs to embrace the journey down both roads while remaining focused on the organization’s vision, according to emels venture.

The next principle is to accept guidance. She recalls pitching her business idea to some investors who did not fully comprehend her concept but believed it had the potential to disrupt the market.

Gabriel Hammond, the CEO of Emles Venture Partners, made an initial investment in the company despite not completely understanding the concept. Overall, Jen was able to win over investors thanks to the advice of a few key stakeholders, who assisted her in making the judgments she did while interacting with investors.

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