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Genomic And Biotech Startups Shaping Healthcare In Africa


Jan. 31, 2023, 12:10 p.m.

Genomics and biotechnology startups are springing up on a large scale globally. Genomics is the study of genomes, and a genome is the entire genetic makeup of a single cell, compromising the complete set of DNA in living organisms. Genomics research can be categorized into four main areas: Bioinformatics (analyses genomes information content), Comparative Genomics (compares genomes’ information with others), Ecological Genomics (explores the interaction between genomes and specific environment niches), and Functional Genomics (Concentrates on how genomes function and evolve).

The practical application of Genomics is utilized in DNA sequencing, drug development (precision medicine), genetic editing, and other biotechnology fields such as food research. There has been a significant advancement in genomics research and its practical applications due to technological improvements over the years.

Current research in genomics and its applications are not limited to academic or government-funded institutions. Tech startups are contributing enormously to the research and development of genomic technologies to support the health sector.

According to Tracxn’s report on genomics startups, over 3,300 genomic startups existed globally as of 2021, with more than $100 billion in investment. These startups are tackling different challenges through genomics, including some African startups. The future of genomic and biotech startups is promising as the sector continues to grow and support global healthcare.

This week we spotlight African genomics and biotech startups founded within the past five years that are revolutionizing healthcare in Africa.

54gene (Nigeria, 2019)

54gene was founded in 2019 by Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong to address the significant gap in the global genomics market, where only 2% of genetic material used in pharmaceutical research is African. However, Africans and people of African ancestry are more genetically diverse than all other world populations combined. The startup has a proprietary Genomics Infrastructure & Insights Ecosystem (GENIISYS™) platform that contains curated genetic, clinical, and phenotypic data from which they generate insights that lead to new treatments and diagnostics.

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3x4Genetics (South Africa, 2018)

3X4 Genetics is a digital health startup pioneering the application of genomics to improve human health and sports performance. The startup gives people access to personalized, DNA-data-driven recommendations for fitness, food, supplements, and lifestyle. With the startup’s technology and reports, individuals can better understand their genetic makeup and make the right decisions when it comes to nutrition and general lifestyle choices to stay healthy and at peak performance.

BioCertica (South Africa, 2019)

BioCertica is a biotechnology company that combines advanced genetic testing and encryption technology to unlock, interpret and protect the DNA of individuals. The company's mission is to create Africa’s first digital biobank where the DNA of individuals will be stored. BioCertica uses a range of DNA tests to unlock genetic information and translate it into actionable results that empower Africans to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

BixBio (South Africa, 2020)

Bixbio is a biotechnology company working to unlock the potential of diverse genetic data in Africa to transform the field of precision medicine. Bixbio believes that widespread precision medicine's future relies on developing genetic tools in Africa. Therefore, BixBio focuses on building genetic tools in Africa to solve global genetic problems through precision medicine.


tag: Africa, tech, HealthTech, biomedical, Startup, articles, Innovation,

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