Announcing the completion of our $25M Series B funding round

Faridah Giwa
Faridah Giwa
September 17, 2021, 4 mins read
Announcing the completion of our $25M Series B funding round

We are pleased to announce that we have secured $25M in a Series B round led by Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund. This round also included participation from Adjuvant Capital, KdT Ventures, Plexo Capital, Endeavor Capital, Ingressive Capital and several others, all unwavering in their support and conviction in our Commitment to Africa and equalising precision medicine on the continent and the rest of the world. This round brings our total investment till date to more than $45M since being founded in 2019. 

The newly-raised capital will be deployed to expand our capabilities in sequencing, target identification and validation, clinical trials and drug discovery for the benefit of both Africans and the global population. The funding will also aid 54gene’s expansion across the African continent, as we advance precision medicine by creating access to accurate diagnostics for African patients. 

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, CEO, 54gene, commented: “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.”

Dr Ene-Obong continued: “In this round we have brought in partners that keep us true to our mission of equalizing 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.” 

To help with this new expansion, we have made several strategic senior appointments: 

  • Colm O’Dushlaine, Vice President – Genomics and Data Science, joins with over 18 years’ experience in statistical genetics of large-scale datasets and was formerly at Regeneron Genetic Center and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. 
  • Peter Fekkes, Vice President – Drug Discovery, developed and led drug discovery programs at Novartis, FogPharma and H3 Biosciences. 
  • Teresia Bost, General Counsel, joins with over 20 years’ experience in healthcare where she’s held various senior counsel roles at Celgene, was VP & Associate General Counsel at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and General Counsel at Quartet Health.
  • Jude Uzonwanne, Chief Business Officer, was formerly a partner at IQVIA, ZS Associates and held multiple roles at the Monitor Group, Bain and Company, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Michelle Ephraim, General Manager Diagnostics Pan-Africa, joins with strategic expertise acquired from previous sales leadership roles across Africa such as in Leica Biosystems, PerkinElmer, and Merck Millipore.

Yassine Oussaifi, Partner at Cathay AfricInvest, also commented: “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. 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.”

About Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund:

Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund is the first early to growth-stage Pan-African Innovation fund connecting Africa with the world’s leading innovation ecosystems. The Fund, a joint initiative between Cathay Innovation and AfricInvest, targets investments in start-ups or ventures (either local, regional or global) that leverage technology and innovative business models to respond to African socio-economic challenges, offering innovative products and services to the growing African population. AfricInvest is among the leading asset management firms for PE, VC and Private Credit in Africa having raised US$2bn since inception. Founded 27 years ago, AfricInvest has made over 170 investments in almost 30 countries across the African continent in a variety of sectors, contributing to significant socio-economic development thanks to revenue and profitability growth across its portfolio companies. Cathay Innovation is a global venture capital partnership, created in affiliation with Cathay Capital, investing in start-ups at the center of the digital revolution across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. As a multistage fund with over $1.5bn in assets under management and offices across San Francisco, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore, Cathay Innovation partners with visionary entrepreneurs and start-ups positively impacting the world through technology. 

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