Revna Biosciences, a new precision medicine company, has unveiled a purpose-built, multifunctional biomedical research facility in Accra.
A statement issued by Revna Biosciences and copied to the Ghana News Agency said Revna’s goal was to increase access to advanced molecular diagnostics as a first step to making precision medicine a reality in Africa.
It said precision medicine, or personalised medicine, was a cutting-edge innovation in healthcare delivery.
The statement said it facilitates highly accurate detection, prevention, and treatment of diseases by considering an individual’s genetic makeup, lifestyle and environment.
It noted that this approach was applicable to the detection, prevention, and treatment of endemic ailments affecting Africans, such as cancer, malaria, tuberculosis, heart diseases, and diabetes.
It said Africa was known to be the most genetically diverse continent, and several populations from other continents have genetic roots in Africa.
It reiterated that however, only about three per cent of global genomic data used in studies come from individuals of African heritage.
Stating that recent data shows this ratio had reduced further to about one per cent, implying that Africans and their descendants might miss out on the benefits of genomic research, such as early detection of diseases and precise drug design.
It said Revna Biosciences seeks to function collaboratively with all stakeholders from across the healthcare sector.
The statement said 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.
Dr Derrick Edem Akpalu, Chief Executive of Revna Biosciences said: “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.”
Dr Paul Owusu-Oduro, the Head of the Revna Diagnostic Section said: “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.”.
Dr Sylvia Anie, Revna Board Member and renowned scientist, 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, Teaching Hospitals and the private sector”.
Dr Yaw Asare-Aboagye, Revna Board Member, said: “Finally, Ghanaians and our neighbours have access to a reliable and timely genetic diagnostic centre”.
At the function, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, who was the special guest of honor was represented by Mr Ben Ampomah Nkansah, the Director of Infrastructure at the Ministry of Health (MoH).
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”.