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Home Startups African genomics startup 54gene CEO Steps Down and Teresia Bost Appointed as Interim CEO   

African genomics startup 54gene CEO Steps Down and Teresia Bost Appointed as Interim CEO   

by Milcah Lukhanyu
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Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong has stepped down as CEO of 54gene, the African genomics company he founded in 2019. Ene-Obong will continue to support the company in the role of Senior Advisor and retain his position on the 54gene Board of Directors. 

54gene’s General Counsel, Teresia L. Bost, will assume the role of Interim CEO with immediate effect, and will be supported by the company’s COO, Delali Attipoe.

Dr Abasi Ene-Obong says, “I have always believed that the scale of genetic diversity in Africa and other highly diverse populations will materially impact our understanding of biology and lead to better medicines and interventions for the global population, and I am proud of what has been achieved at 54gene. I’d like to thank the 54gene Board for their support over the years, and the many talented scientists and technology professionals I have had the pleasure to work with during my time at the company. I will continue to support the company and the scientific ecosystem, particularly the African genomics ecosystem.

“Teresia and Delali bring decades of experience in building and scaling high-impact global pharma companies, and they also have deep insight into the workings of 54gene. I am excited to see them take the company to its next phase ”.

 Bost brings over 20 years of extensive knowledge and experience in leading global teams across pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare industries and has been responsible for strategic support of securities matters, corporate governance and finance matters in previous roles. Attipoe brings more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical sector ranging from logistics and supply chain management to commercial marketing and managed care, including the African market.  

54gene is a health technology company that has built a rich, diverse data resource combined with well phenotyped clinical data derived from Africans to unlock scientific discoveries as well as improve healthcare outcomes within Africa and the global community. Since its launch, 54gene has undertaken the audacious task of cataloguing Africa’s rich population creating a world-class genomics data repository, addressing the fact that African genomics data currently makes up less than 3% of the global genomics data. The company has led the way in genomics and data science innovations, securing a number of notable partnerships with global leaders in biopharma, corporate and global organizations. 

In order to build further resilience in its operations and focus its resources on its core mission of African genomics research and equalizing precision medicine, the company is restructuring across a number of departments and geographies, which will lead to a reduction in headcount. Going forward, the primary focus will be on the unique genomic research the company has started by further leveraging its genomic datasets derived from 54gene’s state-of-the-art biobank, that currently houses over 130,000 unique patient samples and corresponding genomic data, all with the objective of positioning the company to make contributions to precision medicine and drug discovery. This continues the meaningful work the company has invested in, whilst de-emphasising the clinical diagnostic business line at this time.

Jenny Yip, Managing Partner of Adjuvant Capital and 54gene Board Chair says, “We thank Dr. Ene-Obong for shining a light on the need to bring novel drugs to the world based on insights drawn from the healthcare and research ecosystem in Africa, as well as expanding approaches to understanding human disease in the African population, with our ultimate focus on new ways to develop and treat diseases, which will benefit all of society. His vision and innovation has positioned 54gene to make a long-term impact on people around the world, and his tenure as CEO has seen him record significant strides in Africa’s, and the global life sciences sector. 

“Whilst we continue to work closely with Abasi, as he takes on a new role as Senior Advisor, we’re also excited to have Teresia Bost, in her role as Interim CEO, lead the company into its next phase. She brings with her a wealth of global pharma and healthcare industry experience, and we are confident that she will continue to build upon 54gene’s impressive record of carving the way for African genomics on the global stage and continuing to build a truly unique biobank that will generate insights to shape global healthcare challenges”.  

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