Nigerian e-health startup 54gene launches clinical research programme.

Nigerian e-health startup 54gene has launched its Clinical Programme Services (CPS) division, which will provide end-to-end clinical development services, intelligence, logistics, and infrastructure to enable successful conduct of clinical trials in Africa, starting in Nigeria.

Launched in 2019, 54gene is a research, services and development company founded that utilises human genetic data from diverse African populations to improve the development, availability and efficacy of medical products that will prove beneficial to Africans and the wider global population.

The startup recently raised a US$15 million Series A funding round, and has now launched its CPS division, which is focused on partnering with global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and multilateral health organisations, to discover, develop, and commercialise new therapeutic and diagnostic products. 

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The research division is led by Kemi Williams, 54gene’s vice president for clinical and regulatory affairs, and its launc comes at the same time as the appointment of 54gene as the Nigeria country partner for the International Registry of Healthcare Workers Exposed to COVID-19 (UNITY Global) Study. In partnership with Certara, a global leader in biosimulation, 54gene will provide clinical trial management oversight and support for all aspects of the study conducted in Nigeria.

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“The inclusion of Africans in clinical programmes is critical to the production of medicines and health products that are more efficacious and safe for people of African descent. It is vital that we continue to collaborate with African researchers and institutions to generate data that meets the scientific rigour found in worldwide studies and to increase African inclusion in global studies. It is essential that more research takes place on the continent and we are ready to be part of that change,” said 54gene chief commercial officer Jessica Rich.

“Alongside key partners like Certara and other important stakeholders across the continent, the UNITY Global Study is a great opportunity for some of the best clinical teams across Sub-Saharan Africa to come together and ensure outcomes of any COVID-19 studies are relevant to Africans. The insights generated from this programme could potentially unlock breakthrough clinical discoveries that can improve health outcomes for millions of people globally.”

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