54gene, a Nigerian genomic startup has raised a $15-million investment led by Adjuvant Capital to allow the company to scale operations in support of generating novel insights from human genetics research.

The investment will also be used to boost discovery capabilities by bolstering operations in genetics, bioinformatics, preclinical, clinical and commercial programs.

The funding round in 54Gene was joined by Raba Capital, V8 Capital, Ingressive Capital, and follow on investment from Y Combinator, Better Ventures, Fifty Years, KdT Ventures, Aera VC and Pioneer Fund.

Founded in 2019 by Abasi Ene-Obong, 54gene is a genomics startup that offers genetic testing and molecular diagnostics services to Africans which helps to unlock information about their health and has offices in Lagos and San Francisco.

54Gene had in July 2019 secured $4.5-million  from YCombinator, Fifty Years, Better Ventures, KdT Ventures, Hack VC and Techammer.

In addition, 54Gene disclosed that it is currently working with over 300 researchers, clinicians, and geneticists across the continent.

The company has also built an African Biobank, a state-of-the-art biorepository that stores biological samples to provide access to aggregated, de-identified data and bio-specimen mainly for secondary use by researchers, to support both academic and development research.

In a statement, Ene-Obong said that in the coming months the startup will be focusing on building a genomic resource that we hope will add significantly to global health, while also translating to the health benefits of patients in Africa.

“We will also be expanding our collaborations in Africa with both public and private stakeholders and investing in setting up a state-of-the-art research lab with high-throughput genetic processing and BSL 3 capabilities in Nigeria, and ensuring that we build some of our innovative pipelines on the African continent,” he said.

In addition, 54gene also announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board.

The board is composed of global leaders in clinical genetics, bioinformatics and data science, it said. These are Center for Genomic Health’s Michael F Murray, Stanford University’s Manuel Rivas, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals’ Greg Hinkle and Related Sciences’s Jeff Hammerbacher.

The startup has also been busy during this coronavirus pandemic as it launched a fund to boost coronavirus testing capacity of Nigeria.

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