Company aims to build the world’s most diverse cancer research knowledge base
ACCRA, Ghana–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Yemaachi Biotech, a cancer research and diagnostics company headquartered in Accra, Ghana with offices in Washington, DC, announced today the close of a $3 million seed round to advance its mission of diversifying precision oncology globally. V8 Capital led the round, with LifeLine Family Heritage Fund, Y Combinator, Tencent, LoftyInc Capital, VestedWorld, V Square Capital and Ethan Perlstein also participating.
Founded by Yaw Bediako, David Hutchful, Joyce Ngoi, and Yaw Attua-Afari in 2020, Yemaachi is dedicated to accelerating precision oncology in Africa and beyond by expanding access to research and diagnostics. Yemaachi’s first of its kind Pan-African genomic and clinical knowledge base and research platform, combined with deep clinical partnerships across Africa, provide the foundation for innovative products and partnerships to advance new molecular diagnostics and therapeutic targets. The Company also offers clinical testing services including NGS-based screening and diagnostic testing services, optimized for local populations.
Africa has been largely excluded from both genomic and oncology research. Although the continent accounts for 17% of the world’s population, only 2% of genomic study participants are of African descent. Africa’s fast-growing, treatment-naive population, significant disease burden, and the greatest human genetic diversity of any region worldwide create a fertile landscape for harvesting groundbreaking insights and improving outcomes for patients.
“We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of genomic data and understanding. We know genetic outcomes are context dependent, including within the genome. Creating a dataset that has the greatest genomic diversity can enable rapid discoveries that have long-term implications for cancer research, drug development, and patient care, not just in Africa, but globally,” said Yaw Bediako, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Yemaachi. “Combined with Yemaachi’s expertise in immunogenomics, bioinformatics, and deep learning, the Company’s expansive datasets can be a force multiplier for rapidly accelerating advancements in oncology.”
“The breadth of expertise of Yemaachi’s highly talented founding team, the clinical partnerships they have already formed, and their focus on leveraging the vast untapped resource of African genetic diversity to discover the next generation of cancer diagnostics and therapeutics makes them a very exciting and valuable investment for us,” said Tobi Oke, Managing Partner at V8 Capital Partners.
Yemaachi Biotech was also recently named a recipient of a $1 million grant as part of the Calestous Juma Science Leadership Fellowship awarded to Bediako by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The prestigious fellowship is designed to support scientists who are working towards developing innovations in urgent global health priorities.
The Company has already begun to break ground with novel diagnostics and partnerships. Late last year, Yemaachi boitech launched the AMBER Study in collaboration with Lucence to better characterize and understand the genomics of breast cancer in women of African descent using liquid biopsy. In January, the Company launched its at-home Sheba HPV Test in Ghana to help identify women who are at high risk of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in West African women.
The Company’s name combines three Ghanian languages in a portmanteau that means “A New Dawn for Health in Africa.”
About Yemaachi Biotech
Yemaachi Biotech is a cancer research company committed to diversifying and increasing access to precision oncology. Using cutting-edge immunogenomics, bioinformatics, and artificial intelligence, Yemaachi is dedicated to accelerating the development of cancer detection and cure strategies which have high efficacy regardless of ethnicity. Headquartered in Accra, with a growing network of partners across Africa, Yemaachi is committed to building sustainable research and community partnerships that aid in the advancement of medicine and ultimately reduce the burden of cancer in Africa. Yemaachi was one of 15 African companies to be selected as part of the Summer 2021 batch of Y Combinator. For more information, visit www.yemaachi.com
About V8 Capital Partners
V8 Capital Partners is a leading African Venture Capital firm focused on backing bold visionary entrepreneurs of technology businesses across the continent. V8’s specialized know-how and investments are aimed at harnessing disruption, accelerating growth while leveling the playing field for best-in-class African IP. V8 Capital Partners looks to deliver outsized returns to its investors.