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Island-based genetics firm celebrates first anniversary

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CariGenetics volunteers, left and right, learn cahow sequencing in Bermuda with Carika Weldon, centre (Photograph supplied)

Bermudian-based genetic research company CariGenetics is celebrating its first anniversary.

The pioneering programme specialising in Caribbean ancestry, founded and run by Carika Weldon, highlighted some of its biggest achievements including raising more than $2 million in pre-seed funding, launching groundbreaking research projects, and expanding to include a team of seven full-time Bermudian staff.

CariGenetics describes itself as “the first Caribbean-based genomics company focused on understanding non-European genomes to improve global human health”.

Dr Weldon, chief executive of CariGenetics, said: "This past year has been an incredible journey.

“We have not only grown as a team but also made significant strides in genetic research that is specifically tailored for the Caribbean community.

“Our mission to bring health and wellness to this often-overlooked population has been met with overwhelming support, and we are deeply grateful."

Key milestones of CariGenetics

• Official public launch at Bermuda College with the Bermuda Cahow Reference Genome Project on October 11, 2022.

• Official partnership with Genomes.io to offer equitable genetic research to the region starting with breast cancer research on October 22, 2022.

• Raised just under $200,000 by end of 2022 to fund the initial operational team in Q1 2023.

• First public lecture on cancer genomics on February 13

• Raised $1.2 million in pre-seed round by March 31

• First draft of the cahow genome completed on April 28

• More than $2 million raised in pre-seed round by early May

• Research ethics approval for the first-ever whole genome sequencing research study in Bermuda received on May 22

• Launch of Bermuda Coral Reef Genomes and Microbiome study with Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and 2 Frontiers Project on July 6

Sponsorship of St George’s team for Cup Match 2023 and Eastern Counties champions Bailey’s Bay

• Public launch of the Caribbean Breast Cancer Pilot Study and "Get in the Ring" campaign on August 10

• Exclusive deal signed to offer its first direct-to-consumer product, bringing access to gut health tests to the Caribbean region, on September 15

The company has also sponsored various cricket clubs and the first Caribbean Music Awards, hosted summer interns, provided educational events and received international grants for sequencing the reference genomes of the critically endangered endemic Bermuda cedar and Bermuda skink.

A CariGenetics stakeholder appreciation event (Photograph supplied)

“As we look forward to another year of growth and innovation, we are excited about the partnerships and projects that lie ahead,” Dr Weldon added.

“We remain committed to our mission and are eager to continue making a meaningful impact in the field of genetic research.”

• For further information about CariGenetics and its initiatives, please visit www.carigenetics.com

CariGenetics gave a presentation at the Bermuda Zoological Society AGM in July (Photograph supplied)
CariGenetics sponsored St George’s Cricket Club this Cup Match (Photograph supplied)

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Published September 18, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated September 18, 2023 at 7:57 am)

Island-based genetics firm celebrates first anniversary

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