Yemaachi, the African Cancer Research Society, raises funding round to diversify genomic datasets and advance precision oncology globally

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Accra, Ghana–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Yemaachi Biotech, an Accra, Ghana-based cancer research and diagnostics company with offices in Washington, D.C., today announced the closing of a $3 million funding round for advancing its mission of diversifying precision oncology globally. V8 Capital led the round, with participation from LifeLine Family Heritage Fund, Y Combinator, Tencent, LoftyInc Capital, VestedWorld, V Square Capital and Ethan Perlstein.

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 premier pan-African genomic and clinical knowledge base and research platform, combined with deep clinical partnerships across Africa, forms the foundation for innovative products and partnerships to advance new molecular diagnostics and new therapeutic targets. The Company also offers clinical testing services, including NGS-based screening and diagnostic services, optimized for local populations.

Africa has been largely excluded from genomics and oncology research. Although the continent represents 17% of the world’s population, only 2% of the participants in the genomic study are of African descent. Africa’s rapidly growing and treatment-naive population, large disease burden, and greatest human genetic diversity of any region in the world create a fertile landscape for harvesting breakthrough insights and improving patient outcomes.

“We have only begun to scratch the surface of genomic data and understanding. We know that genetic outcomes depend on context, including within the genome. Creating a dataset with 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 across around the world,” said Yaw Bediako, PhD, co-founder and CEO. of Yemaachi. “Combined with Yemaachi’s expertise in immunogenomics, bioinformatics and deep learning, the company’s vast datasets can be a force multiplier to rapidly accelerate progress in oncology.”

“The breadth of expertise of Yemaachi’s highly talented founding team, the clinical partnerships they have already formed, and their focus on harnessing the vast untapped resource of African genetic diversity to discover the next generation of cancer diagnostics and therapies make this a very exciting and valuable investment for us,” said Tobi Oke, Managing Partner at V8 Capital Partners.

Yemaachi was also recently named the recipient of a $1 million Calestous Juma Scientific Leadership Fellowship awarded to Bediako by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The prestigious fellowship is designed to support scientists working to develop innovations in pressing global health priorities.

The Company has already begun to innovate with new diagnostics and partnerships. Late last year, Yemaachi initiated 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 Sheba at-home HPV test in Ghana to help identify women at high risk of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer among women in West Africa.

The company name combines three Ghanaian languages ​​in a portmanteau that means “A New Dawn for Health in Africa”.

About Yemaachi

Yemaachi Biotech is a cancer research company committed to diversifying and increasing access to precision oncology. Using advanced immunogenomics, bioinformatics and artificial intelligence, Yemaachi is dedicated to accelerating the development of cancer detection and treatment strategies that have high efficacy regardless of ethnicity. Based in Accra, with a growing network of partners across Africa, Yemaachi is committed to building lasting research and community partnerships that contribute to the advancement of medicine and ultimately reduce the burden of cancer in Africa. Yemaachi was one of 15 African companies to be shortlisted as part of Y Combinator’s 2021 Summer Batch. 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 from technology companies across the continent. V8’s specialist know-how and investments are aimed at harnessing disruption, accelerating growth while leveling the playing field for best-in-class African intellectual property. V8 Capital Partners seeks to deliver outsized returns to its investors.

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