NEW YORK – IndyGeneUS AI said this week that it has secured a $1.5 million seed investment from South African venture capital firm IsimoVest Venture Capital Partners, along with an undisclosed amount from an unnamed South African angel investor.
The funding will cover equipment and operation costs to install the first of at least 12 planned Ilumina NovaSeq 6000 sequencing platforms at the company's yet-to-be-determined flagship location in Cape Town, South Africa. IndyGeneUS AI — pronounced "indigenous" — is based in Washington, D.C., and has a presence in Cape Town.
IsimoVest will help IndyGeneUS AI establish its sequencing facility, as well as key local strategic partnerships.
IndyGeneUS AI is participating with HelaPlex to build an African genomic repository in support of the development of pharmaceuticals and biologics that are better adapted to those of African descent. The company aims to detect new genomic signatures such as biomarkers and polygenic risk scores by integrating omics data, metadata, and textual information such as electronic healthcare records in a multiomic data analysis and management platform currently under development.
"We have watched IndyGeneUS AI from infancy," Yongama Skweyiya, managing partner at IsimoVest, said in a statement. "When they first joined the Founder Institute South Africa Accelerator, we knew they were a company we wanted to keep our eye on … they knew exactly what the market needed and how they would fulfill the needs of the marketplace."
IndyGeneUS AI hopes to eventually develop drug prototypes through its partnership with HelaPlex, and to test these in animal and later human trials.