Abasi Ene-Obong, the co-founder of 54gene, has stepped down from his position as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the African genomics company. This announcement came two months after the company laid off over 30% (95) of its workforce and one month after his co-founder and vice president of engineering, Ogochukwu Osifo, left the company.
With this turn of events, Teresia L. Boat was appointed as the interim CEO and will be assisted by Delali Attipoe, the Chief Operating Officer (COO). Though Ene-Obong is no longer the CEO, he is still on the 54gene’s board of directors and a senior advisor to the company.
Although the reason for the decision remains unknown, Abasi Ene-Obong, handing the mantle to the interim CEO, said, “Teresia and Delali bring decades of experience in building and scaling high-impact global pharma companies, and they also have deep insight into the workings of 54gene. I am excited to see them take the company to its next phase.”
The African genomics company — 54gene
54gene was founded in 2019 to address the wide gap between the African and global genomics markets. Since the project’s inception, 54gene has received more than $4o million in funds from investors such as Adjuvant Capital, Y Combinator and Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund (CAIF). The company, headquartered in Nigeria and U.S.A., has partnered with organisations such as Illumina, Genentech and Parexel.
Despite the in-flow of funds, the company is believed to be faced with misappropriation of funds. Apart from the redundancy of roles due to the decline in COVID-19 testing, it is believed lack of funds is one of the reasons 30% workforce was laid off. However, there is a confirmed wave of second layoffs after restructuring the different departments.
What to know about the new executives
Teresia L. Bost is the newly named 54gene’s interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with over 20 years of extensive knowledge and experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and healthcare industries with firms like Celgene and Quartet Health while providing strategic support for securities issues, corporate governance, and financial issues.
Delali Attipoe, who has more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry working with companies like Roche and Genentech, will be working with her as the Chief Operating Officer (CEO).
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