Nigerian startup, 54gene has collaborated US firm, Illumina, to build a world-class genomics facility in Lagos, in a bid to improve the development of medical products in Africa.
The startup recently raised US$15 million prior to its partnership with Illumina. It said it aims to “improve human health by unlocking the power of the genome.”
It said the facility would be equipped with a suite of Illumina’s cutting-edge sequencing and high-density microarray technology platforms, which will generate genetic information for health research and drug development.
Despite Africa’s genetic diversity, it was gathered that less than three per cent of the genomes analysed are done in the continent.
Chief Executive Officer, 54gene, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong said the addition of Illumina’s cutting-edge technology to 54gene’s research and diagnostic capabilities was a critical step for the company in fulfilling its mission of equalising precision medicine.
He said: “This is part of our wider commitment to build capacity and infrastructure in Africa which will allow us to significantly expand genomics research, while also improving health outcomes on the continent.
“Alongside our many partners in the African medical and scientific community. We want to make advanced molecular diagnostics more accessible to the region, while creating hundreds of skilled jobs in molecular biology and bioinformatics,” he said.
On her part, General Manager, Ms. Paula Dowdy, Illumina, said it was “incredibly important” to ensure equitable access to genomic sequencing technology across the world so that genomes can be interpreted in the context of global diversity.
“Through partnerships such as this with 54gene, we aim to remove barriers of access to sequencing and expand the benefits of genomics to as many people as possible,” she said.Follow us on social media