On April 14, 54gene completed a series A funding run that raised $15 million courtesy of Adjuvant Capital, which is a fund targeting life sciences ventures and derives its funding from the International Finance Corporation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Novartis.
Other notable investment players during the round were Ingressive Capital, Raba Capital, and V8 Capital. Also represented were KDT Ventures, Y Combinator, Pioneer Fund, Fifty Years, and Aera VC.
In July 2019, the company had the first seed round that saw it raise $4.5 million. Cumulatively, the company has now raised over $19.4 million in seed funding.
The money raised will be channeled into scaling operations into human genome research with the intention of revealing high impact discoveries. Part of the research will accelerate discoveries in improving human health. Operational areas that will receive the investment are bioinformatics, genetics, commercial and clinical programs.
Less than 1 percent of new drug discoveries happen in Africa which is rather unfortunate. In addition, less than 3 percent of international genome studies have been done on the African continent – a trend 54gene intends to reverse.
54gene also announced the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprising global leaders in the field. Notable individuals are Michael F. Murray MD, Director of Clinical Operations, Center for Genomic Health Professor Dept of Genetics, Yale School of Medicine, Manuel Rivas Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Stanford University, Greg Hinkle Ph.D., VP Research Informatics, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Jeff Hammerbacher, Founder and General Partner, Related Sciences.
54gene is an African genomics company, that is working on a project intending to create continents first Pan African Value Bank. The initiative aims to use the data collected to understand the disease profiles of various African countries, which helps inform how they can be treated. The data collected will be instrumental in the creation of new drugs that are unique to the demand in African hospitals.
Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, 54gene Founder and CEO, expressed optimism in their future prospects, even touting future collaborations with private and public stakeholders.