54gene co-founder and CEO Dr Abasi Ene-Obong resigns two months after the company laid off 95 employees

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According to the statement made by the company, General Counsel Teresia L. Bost has been appointed as the interim CEO. She will be supported by Chief Operating Officer Delali Attipoe, the company said. Ene-Obong, on the other hand, will retain his position on 54gene’s board while moving to a new role of senior advisor.

Speaking with Techcrunch about Dr Abasi’s resignation, 54gene said,Abasi has decided to step down as the CEO but will continue to support the company in its go-forward plans such as strategic partnerships and fundraising.”

“We cannot comment on what other new interests he will pursue, if any, but we wish him well and still consider him a key team member.”

Ene-Obong, addressing his exit and the transition in a statement, said:

“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,” he added.

Despite its incredibly diverse population, Africa accounts for less than 3% of global research in genomic data. For this reason, Dr Abasi Ene-Obong, in 2019, founded 54gene because he wanted to see that number change.

Within three years, 54gene created a genomic dataset to help combat healthcare inequality across the continent and beyond. Today the 54Gene Biobank contains over 100,000 samples aimed at better understanding the drivers behind afflictions such as cancer, sickle cell anaemia, and cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, endocrine and autoimmune diseases.

Dr Abasi’s resignation comes two months after 54gene laid off over 95 employees of its workforce. The company’s co-founder and VP of Engineering, Ogochukwu Francis Osifo, also resigned in September.

54gene, in a statement, has disclosed plans to carry out another round of job cuts, targeting roles in its clinical diagnostic business line.

According to the company, the primary focus will be on the unique genomic research the company has started. At the same time, the company will commence de-emphasizing the clinical diagnostic business line.

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