Nigeria’s 54gene Closes $25m Series B To Advance Global Drug Discovery Capabilities

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Nigerian startup 54gene, a health technology company advancing African genomics research for improved global health outcomes, has secured US$25 million in a Series B round it will use to advance its capabilities to contribute to global drug discovery.

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, and has now secured a US$25 million Series B led by Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund. The round, which also included participation from Adjuvant Capital, KdT Ventures, Plexo Capital, Endeavor Capital, Ingressive Capital and others, brings 54gene’s total investment to date to more than US$45 million.

54gene will use this latest investment to expand its capabilities in sequencing, target identification and validation, and precision medicine clinical trials enabling drug discovery in Africa for both Africans and the global population. It will also enable the company to begin its expansion across the African continent.

“It’s truly incredible to witness the impact of African scientists in global research and it is critical to global health that this continues. We want to scale our contribution to global drug discovery by extensively developing life science capabilities on the continent and this additional capital will catalyse our endeavors,” said Dr Abasi Ene-Obong, chief executive officer (CEO) of 54gene.

“In this round we have brought in partners that keep us true to our mission of equalising healthcare and who can help us replicate our success throughout Africa. We believe the world will benefit from an African global drug discovery company that leverages the deep insights found in genomics research in diverse populations and ensures true equity for the African population. It’s exciting to see our company shift into the next gear as it targets becoming one of the top global companies in genomics research.”

54gene will also be expanding its genomics and molecular diagnostics division across Africa, ensuring that African patients get access to accurate diagnostics and enabling the application of precision medicine in the clinical setting throughout the continent.

“As a pioneer in genomic and precision medicine in Nigeria, 54gene has built a unique health technology platform leveraging African resources to unlock scientific discoveries for the benefit of African and global communities,” said Yassine Oussaifi, partner at Cathay AfricInvest.

“At Cathay AfricInvest Innovation, we’re dedicated to backing innovative, inclusive solutions that connect African technology and research with global innovation ecosystems to help them scale. 54gene works across drug discovery, molecular diagnostics and clinical trials, boosting access and affordability of various healthcare solutions that will have a positive impact worldwide. We look forward to working with the 54gene team on their development on the continent and beyond.”

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