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#BellaNaijaMCM Abasi Ene-Obong of 54gene is Building a pan-African Biobank addressing Significant Gap in Global Genomics Market



About 90% of genetic material used in pharmaceutical research is caucasian. Only 2% is African, despite the fact that Africans and people of African ancestry are reputed to be more genetically diverse than all other world populations combined.

As a result, pharmaceutical research and development is lacking African DNA which that may hold the key to medical discoveries and new healthcare solutions for the continent.

#BellaNaijaMCM this week Abasi Ene-Obong wants to change this. He founded 54gene in 2019, an African genomics company building the world’s first pan-African biobank, to address the significant gap in the global genomics market.

Together with other pharmaceutical and biotech partners, 54gene plans to study the pan-African biobank and identify diagnostic and therapeutic targets that benefit people all over the world.

Abasi was born in Nigeria and has extensive career and academic experience in the US, UK and Nigerian healthcare industries.

Abasi had worked with leading healthcare organisations, including Fortune 100 pharmaceutical companies, academic and research institutions, and governments as a management consultant with PwC and IQVIA (formerly QuintilesIMS).

He’s also worked as a cancer researcher and published a seminal paper on pancreatic cancer immunology in the journal, Gastroenterology.

Abasi holds a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of London, a masters in human molecular genetics from the Imperial College London and a masters in business management from the Claremont Colleges, California.

Abasi’s 54gene was one of the Nigerian startups that got into Y Combinator’s 2019 Winter batch. He’s also been named in Quartz Africa Innovators list for 2019.

Abasi, through 54gene, aims to unlock the African genome by building the world’s first and largest pan-African biobank, and we’re rooting for him!

1 Comment

  1. Karim

    September 23, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    This is excellent. I hope his company extends services to include ancestry related DNA testing as well – high throughput sequencing (Y-DNA deep SNP probing), Full Mitochondrial DNA, autosomal (biogeographical), and DNA matching algorithms. In this way, we people of African descent, particularly in the Diaspora, could side step companies such as 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and Family Tree DNA and even AfricanAncestry (which only offers LOW resolution DNA test and lack any type of DNA matching platform let alone deep SNP testing).


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