Revna Biosciences, a new precision medicine company, has unveiled a purpose-built, multifunctional biomedical research facility in Accra, Ghana. Revna’s goal is to increase access to advanced molecular diagnostics as a first step to making precision medicine a reality in Africa.
Precision medicine, or personalized medicine, is a cutting-edge innovation in healthcare delivery. It facilitates highly accurate detection, prevention, and treatment of diseases by considering an individual's genetic makeup, lifestyle, environment, etc. This approach is applicable to the detection, prevention, and treatment of endemic ailments affecting Africans, such as cancer, malaria, tuberculosis, heart diseases, and diabetes, among others.
Africa is known to be the most genetically diverse continent, and several populations from other continents have genetic roots in Africa. However, only about 3% of global genomic data used in studies come from individuals of African heritage. Recent data shows this ratio has reduced further to about 1%, implying that Africans and their descendants may miss out on the benefits of genomic research, such as early detection of diseases and precise drug design.
Revna Biosciences seeks to function collaboratively with all stakeholders from across the healthcare sector. Focusing initially on oncology and infectious diseases, Revna shall leverage its industry partnerships with global leaders such as Qiagen GmbH, Diatech Pharmacogenetics S.R.L, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft to augment regional efforts to save and improve lives. Importantly, the establishment of Revna Biosciences strengthens the West African health sector as countries across the globe seek solutions against future pandemics while simultaneously addressing non-communicable diseases.
The purpose-built centre will analyze complex infections, introduce advanced molecular profiling techniques to the region and curtail the long wait times associated with sending samples overseas to Europe, Asia, and other destinations for diagnoses. Further, given its discovery and clinical development ambitions, Revna Biosciences will facilitate biosample collection, storage, and analysis as a backbone for local and global research into various diseases.
Revna Biosciences intends to operate closely with public hospitals, academia, and other private health facilities to be at the forefront of championing precision medicine in Africa. The company is committed to the conduct of state-of-the-art biomedical research to uncover the biological constructs of diseases affecting Africans and people of African heritage.
The official unveiling was held at the premises of the facility located at Adjiringanor/Nmai Dzorn, Accra, on Friday, 11 November 2022.
Revna Chief Executive, Dr. Derrick Edem Akpalu, commented: "We are very delighted to launch Revna Biosciences and to commence our journey of advancing precision medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa. In concert with our commercial partners as well as our diverse local and international collaborators, we are excited that our quest to promote good science for all has begun. We wish to thank Tekedia Capital, and all our investors for all their support.”
The Head of the Revna Diagnostic Section, Dr. Paul Owusu-Oduro, stated: “We believe that diagnostic reports should not just be accurate, reproducible, and reliable but must also be timely for the patient to enjoy the full benefit of quality healthcare delivery. With our advanced molecular testing techniques and a team of dedicated scientists, we will be bringing esoteric testing in the area of oncology, infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases and genetic testing to the doorstep of the Ghanaian and the sub-region as a whole."
Revna Board Member and renowned scientist, Dr. Sylvia Anie, remarked: “Efficient and timely diagnostics relies on collaboration and partnerships. This initiative provides an excellent opportunity to develop and strengthen linkages with key partners such as the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, NOGUCHI, Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR), Teaching Hospitals and the private sector".
Revna Board Member, Dr. Yaw Asare-Aboagye, said: "Finally, Ghanaians and our neighbours have access to a reliable and timely genetic diagnostic centre".
The occasion was graced by the Minister of Health’s Designee, Director of Infrastructure at the Ministry of Health (MoH), Dr. Ben Ampomah Nkansah, as the special guest of honour.
The minister, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Dormaa Central, said: “In this era of preventive and evidence-based medicine, diagnostics and research play a very crucial role in delivering total quality healthcare services and improving the health outcome of patients.
“With the establishment of Revna Biosciences, a precision medicine company that uses advanced molecular diagnostic techniques, these clinically important tests and a host of others can be performed right here in Ghana with reports generated relatively quickly, eliminating completely, the long waiting time and affording clinicians the opportunity to initiate prompt treatment for better health outcomes of their patients. Additionally, beyond the direct health impact, what this also means for the Ghanaian economy is that foreign currencies that would have been used to pay for these tests overseas will remain in the country".
Several high-profile guests were in attendance including the Chief of Nmai Dzorn, Nii Okpelor Sowah Ablorh; The FDA Board Chair, Dr Sammy Ohene; The Former Dean of the University of Ghana Medical School, Prof. Lartey; The Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu; The CEO FOCOS Orthopaedic, Dr Irene Wulff; Prof Wilson of Noguchi; The CEO Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah; The Head of Pharmacy of the 37 Military Hospital, Lt Col. Richard Osei-Boateng and the W.O in charge of the Pathology Department of the 37 Military Hospital, W.O I Godwin Dutsyo.