September 21, 2023

54gene Founder Returns With New Genomics Company Syndicate Bio

Abasi Ene-Obong

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, the founder of 54gene, has started a new company, Syndicate Bio.

The rise and fall of 54gene

In 2019, Ene-Obong founded 54gene, a Nigerian health and biotech startup, to address the gap in the genomics market.

At the height of the pandemic, the organization seized the opportunity to earn more money by transforming its lab into a COVID testing center.

But, as Covid cases reduced and fewer people carried out tests, many of the staff 54gene recruited had to be let go. The organization was forced to adjust staff numbers to remain competitive during that time.

The year before he stepped down in 2022, the company saw its valuation drop by over $100 million and eventually laid off 30% of its workforce.

Ene-Obong stepped down from the role of Chief Executive Officer in October 2022. He confirmed he would continue his duties as a co-founder while transitioning into a new role as a senior advisor.

It needed to be clarified exactly why Ene-Obong decided to step down from his role, but extreme changes were taking place within the organization.

However, Ene-Obong has now announced the launch of his new business, Syndicate Bio.

Syndicate Bio

Syndicate Bio is a biotech platform driving genomics and precision medicine initiatives across the world’s most diverse regions, starting in Africa to bridge the gap in global healthcare.

“It is my belief that genomics will not only accelerate scientific discovery but also democratize discovery as we begin to carry out population genetics work in diverse populations,” said Ene-Obong.

He announced on LinkedIn that they use large-scale partnerships with governments, pharma companies, academia and other stakeholders to drive local precision medicine impact.

They do this while creating powerful datasets that can be used for drug discovery and development.

Commending the team behind him, including Jumi P. and Estelle Dogbo, MSc, as co-founders, he wrote, “These are people who I have a great amount of respect for and who have demonstrated a commitment to genomics in Africa and continue to do so.” 

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.