Akili Labs (Pty) Ltd, a pioneer of cost-effective molecular diagnostics and secure genomic data storage solutions, and BGI Genomics Co. Ltd, one of the world’s leading genomics companies, today announced the signing of a technology transfer agreement that will provide the Southern region of Africa with clinical-grade sequencing solutions.
“Improving the cost and turnaround time of genetic sequencing services will play a major role in expanding precision medicine-driven healthcare in Africa,” said Charles Faul, co-founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Akili. “Locally provided services have struggled with capacity restraints and are challenged with local pricing of reagents and equipment. Often, the only solution is to send samples to Europe or the USA, where sequencing is cheaper. However, this comes at a price: the application for export permits can be a lengthy process, and then there is the risk of sample loss or damage during shipping.
“Access to sequencing is only one part of the equation”, said Stuart Ali, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Akili. “Sending samples overseas means that they are not processed in locally accredited laboratories. And with the enforcement of the regional data protection laws and the need to preserve the geographic sovereignty and security of genetic data, local in-country solutions are now imperative. Indeed, this partnership supplies the first truly Africa-based service to meet our client needs”.
“We are thrilled to see the progress being made in genomics sequencing development in Africa.”, said Ronnie Mao, Business Manager of Southern Africa, BGI Genomics. “With the continent being home to the world’s most diverse genomics data, it is crucial that local talent has the tools and resources to further our understanding of clinical genetics. We welcome the initiative to develop localized genomics sequencing capabilities in Africa, with a focus on clinical genetics and improving health outcomes. This will not only benefit the people of Africa but also enable and empower local talent to lead this effort and bring their unique perspectives to the field. We look forward to seeing the positive impact that this development will have on the health of individuals and communities in Africa.”