Nigerian healthtech startup launches Clinical Program Service

Nigerian-based healthtech startup, 54gene, has launched a Clinical Program Services (CPS) division. This new sector of 54gene will provide end-to-end clinical development services, intelligence, logistics, and infrastructure to ensure clinical trials are conducted in Africa successfully.

Nigerian healthtech startup, 54gene, launch a clinical research program

Founded in 2019, 54gene is a health technology company whose mission is to advance precision medicine capabilities in Africa through research, advanced molecular diagnostics, and clinical programs.

Cutting-edge clinical research

54gene’s Clinical Program Services division is focused on partnering with global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as multilateral health organizations to discover, develop, and commercialize new therapeutic and diagnostic products.

Kemi Williams, VP, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs will be leading the CPS with a wealth of experience in driving clinical excellence, delivering regulatory competency, and ensuring operational efficiency to the company.

In an official press release, Jessica Rich, 54gene Chief Commercial Officer, comments on the importance of African researcher’s inclusivity in clinical programs.

“The inclusion of Africans in clinical programs 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 rigor 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.”

54gene and the UNITY Global Study

Along with the launch of its CPS division, 54gene has joined the UNITY Global Study conducted in partnership with Certara, a global leader in biosimulation, where some of the best clinical research teams across Sub-saharan Africa address the relevance of current Covid-19 studies. The UNITY Global Study provides selected participants with the opportunity to ensure that studies conducted around Covid-19 are relevant to Africans.

In addition, the UNITY Global Study examines the connection between the use of preventive treatments and the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infection present in healthcare workers who care for patients with Covid-19.

The study is funded by a grant from the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, an initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 54gene will support the study conducted in Nigeria by providing clinical trial management oversight.

Rich praises the efforts of the UNITY Global Study in uniting clinical research teams to include Africa in Covid-19 studies.

“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 program could potentially unlock breakthrough clinical discoveries that can improve health outcomes for millions of people globally.”

The UNITY Global study uses data collected from 10,000 healthcare workers in low and middle-income countries, including Pakistan, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The objective is to build prevention policies based on real-world data.

Covid-19 research

Covid-19 has drastically impacted the global healthcare system, specifically front line healthcare workers. The development of policies and guidance became exceptionally important to ensure the protection of healthcare workers in combating the virus.

The UNITY Global Study records SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results and collects information weekly for 12 weeks.

Data collection includes medications being taken by healthcare workers, their level of exposure to Covid-19 patients, their health status, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Roman Casciano, general manager of Certara’s evidence and access group, highlights the risks faced by front line healthcare workers in treating Covid-19 positive patients.

“Healthcare workers have a high incidence of severe Covid-19 as they are repeatedly exposed to individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2. With limited evidence on the effectiveness of the preventative measures and treatments currently being used, collaborating with key partners such as 54gene is invaluable for expanding the current body of research. Through our country partners’ support and findings from the registry, we hope to provide meaningful data to inform decision making that will help protect healthcare workers worldwide battling Covid-19 on the frontlines.”

Read more: Nigerian healthtech 54gene closes $15m Series-A raise
Read more: Nigerian healthtech startup joins prestigious entrepreneur organisation

Featured image: Gustavo Fring via Pexels 



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